The US Department of Agriculture has teamed with the Federal Aviation Administration on a five-year agreement aimed at developing biofuels for use in aviation.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the USDA and the FAA will "work together with the airline industry over the next five years to develop appropriate feedstocks that can be most efficiently processed into jet fuel", says US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack.

The two government agencies will work towards developing a tool that will evaluate the status of different components of the feedstock supply chain, such as the availability of biomass from farms and forests.

The tool will also evaluate the potential of various types of biomass to be turned into jet fuel, as well as the amount of time it will take to ramp up to full-scale production.

The agreement with the FAA is part of a broader US government effort to promote the production of fuel from renewable sources.

"Domestic production of renewable energy, including biofuels, is a national imperative and that's why the USDA is working to assist in developing a biofuels industry in every corner of the nation," says Vilsack.

"By producing more biofuels in America, we will create jobs, combat global warming, replace our dependence on foreign oil and build a stronger foundation for the 21st century economy."

Richard Altman, executive director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, sees the USDA initiatives as a positive step.

Before the MoU was announced, Altman said: "The seeds have been sown for a very close relationship between agricultural interests and aviation - this will mature even further as initiatives are announced."

Source: Flight International