Government Expands Aviation Biofuel Program

The Obama Administration on Monday said it is extending a research program aimed at developing aviation biofuels by five years. Known as “Farm to Fly,” the initiative involves the FAA, airlines and biofuel producers in an effort that seeks to increase domestic production of drop-in aviation biofuels to 1 billion gallons per year by 2018.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the agreement at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

“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,” Vilsack said.

The White House has promoted aviation and other biofuel programs as a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions and foster growth of domestic biofuel producers. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called on the government and industry to work together to reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and help airlines save money through the production of biofuel.

Aviation biofuels are made from non-edible feedstock such as algae. Investment in the technology has lagged far behind food-based biofuel, such as ethanol made from corn. Some lawmakers oppose spending money on biofuels, saying they can’t be produced in large enough quantities. Those officials tried to eliminate Defense Department spending for drop-in biofuels last year. The attempts have received pushback amid opposition from Democrats and Republicans in the Midwest.


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