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Advancing alternative fuels

UDRI to bring alternative fuels expertise to new FAA Center of Excellence

The University of Dayton Research Institute is one of 16 universities selected to lead the Federal Aviation Administration’s new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for alternate jet fuels and the environment. In news released Sept. 13, the FAA announced a $40 million award for the 10-year program, designed to advance research and development of environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuel technology.

Led by Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Center will explore ways to meet the environmental and energy goals that are part of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Along with UDRI, core team partners are Boston, Oregon State, Pennsylvania State, Purdue and Stanford universities; the universities of Hawaii, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington; Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“The Research Institute was selected for its world-class expertise in characterizing the properties of alternative fuels and research in the compatibility of fuels and aircraft materials – skills we anticipate being able to bring to the new Center,” said Steve Zabarnick, acting head of the Institute’s Energy and Environmental Engineering division. UDRI developed its expertise in alternative fuels while performing sponsored research for the Air Force Research Laboratory, Zabarnick said.

With its alternative-fuels team assembled, the FAA will work with academic, industry and government affiliate groups to create and fund research programs in new aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative aviation fuels that will best address the Center’s goals related to noise reduction, air quality, climate change and energy.

“Our research experience in alternative fuels puts the Research Institute in an excellent position to pursue a large share of the available funding,” Zabarnick said.

The creation of the new Center of Excellence supports a presidential plan to address climate change, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in an FAA news release. “Airlines and their customers will both benefit from research to develop cleaner fuel that supports the environment and continued aviation growth.”

According to the FAA:
The Center of Excellence program is a cost-sharing research partnership between academia, industry and the federal government. The FAA anticipates providing this Center with $4 million for each of the 10 years of the program.

The selected university members all have nationally recognized collegiate environmental and aviation-related education programs. Research projects will be performed through a partnership of senior scientists from these universities. The Center universities also will engage graduate-level and undergraduate-level students in their research activities.

Each year, sponsored research programs at the University of Dayton provide real-world research opportunities to nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate students working with more than 500 professional and faculty researchers from the Research Institute, the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sept. 18, 2013


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