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Kristin C. Lewis, PhD

Principal Technical Advisor for Energy Analysis and Sustainability

Dr. Kristin C. Lewis

Kristin Lewis, PhD is the principal technical advisor for energy analysis and sustainability at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. She joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2009 with a focus on resilience in transportation, alternative fuels, sustainability, and environmental impact risk assessments.   

Lewis supports FAA as the Head Research and Technical Advisor to the FAA-sponsored Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI®) and provides technical expertise to FAA as a member of the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection (ICAO CAEP) Fuels Task Group, for which she co-leads the Sustainability Task Group, and as co-rapporteur of the Sustainability Certification Scheme Evaluation Group. She leads the development of the Freight and Fuel Transportation Optimization Tool (FTOT), a model for assessing optimal transport of commodities in a supply chain, which has been sponsored by the FAA, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy (DOE), and FHWA, as well as Oregon State University. Lewis also leads the development of the Resilience and Disaster Recovery (RDR) Tool Suite for the Office of the Secretary of Transportation’s Office of Research, Development and Technology in collaboration with FHWA. Lewis participated in the winning 2013 U.S. DOT Volpe Center Innovation Challenge team focusing on supporting the use of federal tools to address transportation-related climate change adaptation and resilience needs and has also received competitive funding for projects on network resilience, water scarcity, and optimizing localized food supply chains. 

Lewis has performed a variety of analyses on alternative fuels availability, feasibility, environmental sustainability, and potential greenhouse gas benefits. With colleagues from USDOT, FAA, DOE, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and academic and industry colleagues, she has published on future alternative jet fuel production and availabilitythe state of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and the potential for a 100% drop-in SAF, as well as on approaches to transportation resilience in the U.S. Lewis has worked with researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, FAA, and others to develop and implement the use of a Feedstock Readiness Level tool for communicating maturity of feedstock development. With USDA and Forest Service colleagues, she co-led a sub-team of the Farm to Fly 2.0 Initiative focusing on benchmarking feedstock readiness and developing guidance to facilitate readiness evaluations. Lewis has also worked with researchers from FAA and the Air Force to define criteria for fulfilling the Fuel Readiness Level, an alternative jet fuel-focused adaptation of NASA/DOD Technology Readiness Level. With the Environmental Law Institute, she co-authored a paper on invasive species risks associated with biofuel feedstocks and the regulatory frameworks to reduce those risks. Lewis has supported FAA and National Park Service’s research efforts on aviation noise impacts on national park visitors as part of the Air Tour Management Plan program. She also co-leads the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Climate Change and Resilience Community of Practice. 

Lewis received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama in 2011 and has received numerous U.S. DOT and U.S. DOT Volpe Center Director’s Awards.   

She received a BS in Chemistry and Studies in the Environment (double major) from Yale and a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard. 

View a list of reports by Dr. Kristin Lewis.