Sea-Tac Aims For All-Biofuel Flights

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The Port of Seattle has partnered with Alaska Airlines and Boeing to set an ambitious goal — powering all airline flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel. The partners have launched a $250,000 study to assess the costs and infrastructure they would need to deliver a biofuel/jet-fuel blend to all airline flights at Sea-Tac, as an interim step toward an all-biofuel system. “Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Sheila Remes, a spokesperson for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing is proud to work with our customer Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle to power every plane at Sea-Tac with a biofuel blend and lead the way for other airports to do the same.”

Approved “drop-in” aviation biofuel is blended directly with regular petroleum-based jet fuel and used in airplanes without any changes to the aircraft or engines. Using sustainably produced biofuel reduces life-cycle carbon-dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to conventional petroleum fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 2011, when biofuel was approved for commercial aviation, airlines have conducted more than 2,000 passenger flights with a blend of biofuel and conventional petroleum jet fuel. The partners’ longer-term plan for Sea-Tac is to incorporate significant quantities of biofuel into the airport’s fuel infrastructure, which is used by 26 airlines and more than 380,000 flights annually. Sea-Tac is the 13th busiest airport in the U.S. and will serve more than 42 million passengers this year.