Penn State part of FAA Air Transportation Center of Excellence

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Federal Aviation Administration has selected Penn State as part of a team of universities to form a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment. The center will explore ways to meet the environmental and energy goals that are part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

"In the new 10-year center, the College of Engineering, the Applied Research Laboratory, Penn State's Institutes of Energy and the Environment and other campus units will carry out research and policy studies to help the FAA support the U.S.'s Next Generation Transportation System," said Victor W. Sparrow, professor of acoustics and interim head of the graduate program in acoustics.

Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will lead the consortium, which includes 14 university partners and more than 50 industry and national laboratory partners across the U.S. The FAA anticipates funding this project with $4 million a year for the 10-year duration of the project.

The team will focus on environmental goals for noise, air quality, climate change and energy including new aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative aviation jet fuels. Senior researchers from the various universities will work through a partnership, engaging graduate and undergraduate students to achieve the project goals.

"Penn State will be generating ideas to help put America on a path to flying greener and sustainably, while minimizing the effects of aircraft noise and emissions," said Sparrow, who is the Penn State principal investigator on the project

The overall goal for aviation is to improve National Airspace System energy efficiency by at least two percent per year and to develop and use alternative jet fuels for commercial aviation, with a target of one billion gallons of alternative jet fuel being used by 2018.

"The commercial aviation industry is at the forefront of sustainable transportation fuels, with a public commitment to purchase over a billion gallons a year of bio-based jet fuels by 2020," said Tom Richard, director, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment. "Through this new FAA Center of Excellence, Penn State will help the airline industry address the technical challenges in biomass and biofuel production, supply chains, noise and other sustainability criteria necessary to meet this ambitious goal."

Other universities involved in the center include Boston University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, the University of Dayton, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Pennsylvania, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Hawaii, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Tennessee.

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Last Updated October 11, 2013