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  • The Institute for Transportation Decarbonization

Institute for Transportation Decarbonization issues call for research on SAF

A new grant program targeting climate-changing emissions from the aviation sector launched March 16 by the Institute for Transportation Decarbonization.

Founded in 2022, ITD is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) supported by Community Initiatives working to accelerate 100 percent greenhouse-gas emissions reduction in the United States transportation sector by 2050.

ITD focuses on research and analysis of viable decarbonization pathways for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as the freight, aviation, and maritime networks, to prioritize reducing pollution and carbon-emissions reductions through the acceleration of clean-energy technologies and policies.

The organization opened a call for research proposals on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) intended to assist decisionmakers in determining best approaches to build domestic production capabilities and meet the needs of U.S. commercial, government, military and private air travel.

“The environmental impact of flying cannot be underestimated,” said Kelly Fleming, ITD senior research fellow and author of the report, “Pathway to Net-Zero Transportation in the United States: An Exploration of Technologies and Policies,” which mapped a path for 100 percent carbon-emissions reduction from transportation technologies that promote a deep reduction in U.S. fossil-fuel usage.

“Emissions from aviation make up a significant share of our overall carbon pollution, and are increasing,” Fleming said.

The Biden administration set a high goal of producing 35 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2050 and an interim goal of 3 billion a year by 2030.

While industry and policy interest has grown recently, SAF supply is only around 4.5 million gallons per year due in part to barriers identified in the SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap, hosted by the USDA, DOE and the Department of Transportation.

Additional SAF research is required to improve modeling, accelerate production, reduce carbon intensity and lower costs compared to traditional fossil-based jet fuel.

Policymakers, companies and researchers must consider approaches to close the gap.

“The need to scale-up sustainable fuel options for aviation presents an incredible opportunity for U.S. innovation in the transportation sector that lowers our carbon impact and brings economic opportunity to bear,” Fleming said.

Researchers from universities or nonprofit organizations may apply for financial support for novel analysis, stakeholder engagement, or related research efforts to advance science-based policy on SAF technologies with an emphasis on addressing gaps in existing policies and regulations.

All funded projects will either advocate for equitable science-based policy, build SAF literacy among policymakers, and/or address inequities in existing policies and regulations.

More information can be found in the online ITD call for proposals.



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