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50 Percent Biofuels Now Allowed in Jet Fuel

Friday's much-anticipated release of revised international aviation fuel standards officially allows commercial airlines to a blend conventional jet fuel with up to 50 percent biofuels.

The renewable fuels can be blended with conventional commercial and military jet fuel through requirements in the newly issued edition of ASTM D7566, Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons.

The new standards could lead the fledgling aviation biofuel industry to immediately step up production.

Bioderived synthetic blending components are identical to hydrocarbons found in jet fuel, but come from vegetable oil-containing feedstocks such as algae, camelina or jatropha, or from animal fats called tallow.

Mark Rumizen, who helped lead the work to revise the specification, heads the certification-qualification group for the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), a coalition that seeks to enhance sustainability for aviation by promoting the use of alternative jet fuels.

“The revision of D7566 reflects an industry cooperative effort to accomplish this task," said Rumizen. "Because of the great emphasis on safety when you're dealing with aviation fuel, the passage of this ballot required a collaborative and cooperative effort between the members of the aviation fuels community."

Representatives from companies across the fuel supply chain plus biofuel producers, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and regulatory agencies were involved in the specification development and revision.

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