Wed 24 Oct 2012 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to form a Center of Excellence (COE) for Environment and Energy next year with the aim of conducting a broad range of study areas including aircraft noise and emissions, environmental policy and alternative jet fuels research. The COE will be a consortium of the FAA, university partners and private industry affiliates selected by the FAA Administrator to work collectively on business and operational issues. The FAA anticipates the COE will attract interest from organisations such as the airline industry, other industrial groups, airport authorities and other governmental entities to solve what it describes as various unique and difficult aviation problems related to environment and energy. Earlier this month, the FAA announced $5.4 million in grants to 13 US airports that are taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment.
The COE solicitation has been issued by the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, which is one of the nation’s premier aviation research, development, test and evaluation facilities. The centre serves as the FAA national scientific test base for research and development and is the primary facility supporting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
The environment and energy COE will focus on areas including, but not limited to:
• Aircraft noise and impacts characterisation;
• Aircraft emissions and impacts characterisation;
• Aircraft technology assessment;
• Compatible land use management;
• Alternative jet fuels research;
• Environmentally and energy efficient gate-to-gate aircraft operations;
• Aviation environmental modelling and analysis; and
• Aviation environmental policy.
Organisations outside research and academia may be considered as affiliate members by the COE core universities and may contribute to and receive funding from the COE.
The FAA has established a number of COEs throughout the United States, including the COE for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation (PARTNER) led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and including nine other academic institutions.
The new COE will be selected against a set of criteria, including a track record in air transportation, and applicants must propose research projects they intend to carry out under the grant. Specific projects will be defined, evaluated and funded throughout the life of the Center.
The FAA is inviting prospective applicants to a public meeting to be held in the Washington DC area on November 15 and 16. For further information on the COE programme contact Patricia.Watts@faa.gov or to register for the meeting contact Jessica.Shaw@faa.gov.
Meanwhile, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced $5.4 million in FAA grants for 13 airports nationwide to help them improve sustainability in a number of ways including reducing noise in the surrounding communities and improving water and air quality. The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding enables airports to study, plan and develop sustainability initiatives to be incorporated into existing and future airport projects.
The FAA says these can include reducing energy consumption through the use of alternative fuels for vehicles, installing light sensors to automatically turn off lights and reduce energy use, using environmentally friendly ‘green’ products at airport facilities and promoting land uses that attract businesses and industries that can benefit from being near an airport.