New Effort Aims To Promote Biofuel For Jets

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Boeing and Alaska Airlines have signed on with various other partners in the Northwest region to develop a plan for replacing today's jet fuel with biofuels from renewable sources, the companies announced this week. "Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020," said Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Others joining in the effort include Washington State University, Spokane International Airport and the Port of Seattle. The regional effort is the first of its kind in the U.S., according to Alaska Airlines.

The project's objective is to produce a roadmap addressing the potential technologies and infrastructure that would be needed to make aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators in the region. Researchers will meet with biomass producers, refiners, airport operators, environmental and government organizations, and airline representatives. They will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and airline needs. They will analyze potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, such as algae, oilseeds such as camelina, and wood byproducts. The project is jointly funded by the participants and is expected to be completed by January.