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Frequently Asked Questions 45 issue is of importance for several reasons. First, deforestation is one of the world's largest sources of carbon emissions and has many other social, environmental, and economic impacts. In addition, overturning topsoil for planting, especially the first time once the land is defor- ested, also releases significant carbon. Land-use implications are difficult to prove, disprove, or quantify. Despite this uncertainty, correctly gauging the impact of alternative jet fuels on land use will be critical to their long-term acceptance. Q: How may the production of alternative jet fuel affect water resources? A: Water use is a topic that frequently comes up during the discussion of any kind of alternative fuels, including alternative jet fuel. Depending on the specific way in which feedstocks are recovered and processed, water consumption for the production of alternative jet fuels may be comparable to or larger than that required for conventional jet fuel production. The water impact of alternative jet fuels should be evaluated by considering the feedstocks and conver- sion technologies separately. There are two components pertaining to feedstocks. In terms of water consumption, traditional feedstock crops, such as soybeans, require large amounts of freshwater. In contrast, new bio-derived crops, such as switchgrass, do not need irrigation, and algae can grow in brackish water or seawater. In terms of water pollution, fossil feedstocks and traditional feedstock crops contribute runoff from fertilizers and pesticides. Regarding conversion technologies, the need for cooling drives the water impact. The impact varies widely, from extensive to minimal, with the type of cooling and conversion technol- ogy. Fischer-Tropsch requires substantial cooling and is generally more water intensive than hydroprocessing per unit of energy produced. It should be noted that the United States has extensive laws and regulations governing water, as indicated in Section 3.5.1. Compliance with these laws and regulations should be considered sufficient to meet any concerns about impacts to water resources. Q: Are there sustainability criteria for alternative jet fuels? A: Production of alternative jet fuels may affect the environment in several ways, as noted pre- viously. In the United States, there are no mandatory sustainability criteria for alternative fuels. The United States has a full suite of detailed environmental laws and regulations and a legal system to enforce compliance with those laws and regulations--demonstration of com- pliance with the law should be considered sufficient to establish sustainability according to existing laws and regulations. There are efforts to develop sustainability standards applicable to development of alternative fuels in general (not only alternative jet fuel). One example is the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels ( These standards aim to include a number of factors, including food security, land and water rights, and fair labor laws. The development of these standards has been difficult because of the complexities and sensitivities around the main considerations that need to be considered. Details for the application of these standards are also still being discussed. 4.2 What Are Some Potential Concerns Regarding Production of Alternative Jet Fuel? Q: Who can I turn to for help in finding out more about particular production methods or feedstocks? A: Contact CAAFI through their website ( or the ATA at These organizations are knowledgeable in the application of feedstocks and processes for alternative jet fuels. Renewable fuel trade associations (e.g., Advance Biofuels Association, Low Carbon

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46 Guidelines for Integrating Alternative Jet Fuel into the Airport Setting Fuel Association) can introduce airports to their members. Biofuels Digest and other trade publications are also excellent sources of this information. Fuel suppliers are increasingly present at major air shows and can be contacted at those venues. Q: What is the biggest challenge in finding the best option for producing alternative jet fuel in my region? A: The main challenge for alternative jet fuel production is finding the appropriate feedstock. For processing plants using biomass feedstocks, local availability of feedstocks is likely the most important factor. For processing plants using fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, easy access to existing transportation infrastructure is the main concern. Q: We have identified a possible production technology and have plenty of local feedstock; how can we find a company to produce the fuel? A: Contact CAAFI or ATA. The CAAFI website ( contains links to many compa- nies that are among their stakeholders. ATA can help identify a fuel expert from one of the airlines that serves your airport. Other sources are the Advanced Biofuels Association, BIO, and the Low Carbon Fuel Association. In addition, several trade publications (e.g., Biofuels Digest) contain lists of qualified producers. Q: Can more than one feedstock be used in a HEFA facility? A: Yes, in fact most producers will not want to rely on a single feedstock. Multiple plant oils can grow in the capture radius of a HEFA facility. Q: Can the percentage of alternative jet fuel and other products from an alternative fuel processing facility be altered during the life of the facility? A: Yes. Alternative jet fuel requires more hydroprocessing capacity than diesel. Once a facility is built for alternative jet fuel, it can always produce more alternative (green) diesel. Typically the maximum amount of alternative jet production is 60% Q: How much more will alternative jet fuels cost compared to conventional jet fuel? How will the cost differential change with time? A: According to most pricing scenarios, alternative jet fuels produced from new energy feed- stocks and bought only in small quantities will cost more than conventional jet fuel. These initial costs are mitigated by both Congressional subsidies ($1 per gallon in recent years) and the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Considering the history of food crops, in which the yield per acre has improved over time, it is reasonable to expect that the yield per acre of bio-feedstocks will also increase, resulting in a reduction in their price. Q: Are there public funding sources that can support feasibility studies for a biofuel facility at or near an airport? A: Yes. USDA Rural Development has a series of programs to fund these types of studies. State agriculture departments are a source of programs as well. Contact CAAFI for more information. Q: What constitutes a "rural" alternative jet fuel project that can be supported by USDA? A: In new rules published in February 2011, the definition of "rural" is greatly expanded. For example, a project constructed in a more-densely populated location using feedstocks from historically rural locations can be eligible. Airports, their clients, and stakeholders should con- sult with local and national USDA rural development authorities to establish how these new rules are applied in the local area. Q: Are there limitations on the sources of foreign funding that can be supported by the USDA loan guarantee program?