Environmental Health & Safety / Energy Efficiency

First Alaska Air Flights Take Off Using Gevo ATJ Biofuel

By Chemical Processing Staff

Jun 13, 2016

Two Alaska Airlines jets departed Seattle on June 7 fueled by the first alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) made from sustainable U.S. corn, according to the company. The two Alaska Airlines flights departed with Gevo, Inc. fuel and flew from Seattle to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

While the 1,500 gallons of biofuel used on these flights have a minimal impact on Alaska Airlines' overall greenhouse gas emissions, if the airline were able to replace 20% of its entire fuel supply at Sea-Tac Airport, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 142,000 metric tons of CO2, according to the company.

Alaska estimates the 20% biofuel blend it is using for the two flights will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. The demonstration flights mark the first biofuel produced from a new feedstock to be certified and approved by ASTM International since 2011, according to the company. Gevo's production process converts bio-based isobutanol into an alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) fuel.

Alaska Airlines was reportedly the first U.S. airline to fly multiple commercial passenger flights using a biofuel from used cooking oil. The carrier flew 75 flights between Seattle and Washington, D.C. and Seattle and Portland in November 2011. Alaska Airlines is teaming up with the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to advance the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest. In the coming months, Alaska will fly a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of Gevo's ATJ being produced by the NARA team and its partners.

For more information, visit: alaskaair.com/sustainability