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USDA and FAA extend aviation biofuel agreement

April 16, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the USDA is extending for five years its agreement to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other partners to help develop a viable biofuel for the aviation industry. The Secretary signed the agreement with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Advanced Biofuels Summit at Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland.

The new agreement, which includes partners from the commercial aviation sector, follows the initial success of the 2010-2012 “Farm to Fly” initiative. It also supports President Obama’s commitment to clean energy technology, energy independence and job creation and is part of USDA’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy. The federal government and its partners hope to support the annual production of 1 billion gallons of drop in aviation biofuel by 2018.

“Farm to Fly” builds upon the work of USDA’s Regional Biomass Research Centers, which are helping to develop a robust, advanced biofuels industry by working with industry partners to produce energy-producing feedstocks within different regions. The renewed agreement focuses on future goals — such as designating personnel, evaluating current and potential feedstock types and systems, developing multiple feedstock supply chains, developing state and local public-private teams, communicating results, and issuing periodic reports.

“By continuing to work together to produce American made ‘drop-in’ aviation fuels from renewable feedstocks, we will create jobs and economic opportunity in rural America, lessen America’s reliance on foreign oil and develop a thriving biofuels industry that will benefit commercial and military enterprises,” Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said. “USDA is pleased to partner with the FAA in our quest to develop alternatives to fossil-based fuel, which is critical to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.”

“Algae farmed right here in America are among the crops that can produce biofuels that meet the needs of the aviation industry and provide the US with the economic benefits that come with domestic production,” added Mary Rosenthal, executive director of ABO. “With the first large-scale algae production facilities coming online and the successful testing of algae biofuels in military and commercial aircraft, it’s clear that continued research and investment can pay big dividends. The commitment of agencies like the USDA and FAA will build on that success and accelerate the development of new and renewable sources of fuel.”

For a copy of the most recent report on the “Farm to Fly” efforts, see Agriculture and Aviation: Partners in Prosperity, Parts I and II at this link: http://www.usda.gov/documents/usda-farm-to-fly-report-jan-2012.pdf

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