Research teams from universities nationwide are working on a variety of aviation environmental topics including sustainable aviation fuels, aircraft emissions, and noise impacts with support from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants. The FAA is awarding $27.2 million to 11 U.S. universities as part of its Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT) program. The awards will be matched in-kind by the Center’s partners under the grants program one-to-one cost sharing agreement.     

“The work of these teams is a cornerstone of the FAA’s sustainability efforts,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. “The entire aviation industry can leverage this research to reduce noise and enable safe and efficient operations while working toward net-zero emissions by 2050.”  

ASCENT grants will support the work of these universities:  

  • The Georgia Institute of Technology: fuel efficiency, fuel emissions, fuel cells, sustainable aviation fuel technology, air quality, noise measurement and next-generation aircraft.
  • Washington State University: sustainable aviation fuel, the sustainable aviation fuel supply chain, fuel efficiency and hydrogen propulsion.
  • Pennsylvania State University: engine technology, fuel efficiency, noise measurement and supersonic propulsion.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: fuel emissions, air quality, contrails, noise, the sustainable aviation fuel supply chain, high altitude operations, hydrogen propulsion, electrification assessments and commercial space emissions.
  • Dayton University: sustainable aviation fuel and fuel testing.
  • Boston University: air quality, noise, and health issues involving aviation noise.
  • University of Illinois: contrails, emissions impacts, fuel testing, and commercial space emissions.
  • Purdue University: fuel efficiency and the sustainable aviation fuel supply chain.
  • The University of North Carolina: air quality.
  • Stanford University: sustainable aviation fuel.
  • University of Hawaii: fuel efficiency and the sustainable aviation fuel supply chain.  

Teams from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Oregon State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Tennessee and the University of Washington are continuing their research on other ASCENT projects. 

“The FAA has invested more than $155 million in grant funds since the ASCENT research effort began and the work has driven forward our environmental effort significantly,” said Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs, and Environment Laurence Wildgoose. “As a result of ASCENT research, four new procedures have been implemented at Boston Logan International Airport to reduce noise impacts on surrounding communities."   

Detailed descriptions of all ASCENT projects including annual reports can be found here. 

In its Aviation Climate Action Plan, the United States set a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050. Find more information about the FAA and its environmental efforts at its Sustainability Gateway Page and its Sustainable Aviation Fuel page.