Business aviation’s alphabet groups have launched the “sustainable alternative jet fuel” (SAJF) initiative, an awareness effort to curb the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

EBAA, NBAA, the International Business Aviation Council, the National Air Transportation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) jointly unveiled the initiative at EBACE on Monday.

The SAJF production processes are promised to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint, measured over a life cycle, than conventional kerosene. The main idea is to reduce business aviation’s environmental footprint where it starts, as opposed to using offsets. Such market-based measures should be temporary, in the view of industry executives. It also answers a need for education, as industry players such as operators and fuel providers are not content with standardization body ASTM’s green light and still fear consequences on fuel tanks and engine warranty.

The initiative centers on the diffusion of a guide to the use of SAJF. It is supposed to help business aviation meet the “aspirational goals” it set itself in 2009 in the “Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change.” The toughest goal, according to an aircraft manufacturer executive involved in creating the guide, is a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, relative to 2005.

“In the coming months, we will walk the talk,” David Coleal, chair of GAMA’s Environment Committee and president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said. The guide’s authors want to emphasize SAJF is safe and available. The latter point, however, still has to be proven. Production volumes are still at a low level and SAJF is still three to five times more expensive than today’s Jet-A1 fuel, according to a fuel provider. The aircraft manufacturer executive adds that adopting SAJF will be a 10-15 year effort.

The promoters of the initiative are planning a full-scale demonstration, where all aircraft would receive a blend of conventional and sustainable fuel, at Los Angeles Van Nuys and Paris Le Bourget airports.