Source – Green Car Congress
Alaska Airlines will fly 75 commercial passenger flights in the United States powered by a biofuel blend, starting this Wednesday. Two flights will leave Seattle on 9 Nov. for Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon. Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, will continue to operate select flights between Seattle and the two cities over the next few weeks using a 20% blend of renewable biofuel.
The fuel was supplied by SkyNRG, an aviation biofuels broker, and made by Dynamic Fuels, a producer of next-generation renewable, synthetic fuels made from used cooking oil. The synthetic fuel made by Dynamic Fuels—a $170 million joint-venture between Tyson Foods Inc. and Syntroleum Corp. (earlier post)—meets aviation and military safety, sustainability and performance standards.
Alaska Air Group estimates the 20% certified biofuel blend it is using for the 75 flights will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 10%, or 134 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 26 cars off the road for a year. If the company powered all of its flights with a 20% biofuel blend for one year, the annual emissions savings would represent the equivalent of taking nearly 64,000 cars off the road or providing electricity to 28,000 homes.
The 75 flights that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will fly over the next few weeks reflect our longstanding commitment to environmental responsibility and our belief that sustainable biofuels are key to aviation’s future.
Commercial airplanes are equipped and ready for biofuels. They will enable us to fly cleaner, foster job growth in a new industry, and can insulate airlines from the volatile price swings of conventional fuel to help make air travel more economical. What we need is an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply. To the biofuels industry, we say: If you build it, we will buy it.
—Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer
Alaska Air Group’s fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400s are one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient among domestic airlines. Air Group has also led the industry with a variety of environmental projects to fly greener—from pioneering satellite-based navigation procedures to onboard recycling. Industry leaders agree that biofuels represent a critical element in cutting aviation’s carbon footprint.
Aviation clearly needs a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels. In the US and around the world, the industry is doing all it can to support sustainable biofuel development and maintain aviation’s role in global economic growth. To make that happen we must develop regional supply chains, and that takes supportive government policies that encourage investment in the early stages of this emerging sector.
—Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy Billy Glover
Alaska’s commercial biofuel flights come six months after Air Group partnered in a strategic initiative called Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN), a 10-month regional stakeholder effort to explore the feasibility, challenges and opportunities for creating an aviation biofuels industry in the US Pacific Northwest. (Earlier post.)
The study determined the region has the diverse stocks for biofuels, delivery infrastructure and political will needed to create a viable biofuels industry. There currently is no supply of aviation biofuels in the Pacific Northwest.