An historic flight for the forest products industry

An historic flight for the forest products industryI’ve got to say, this is without a doubt the most exciting flight I’ve ever been on. In fact, my Alaskan Airlines flight this morning from Seattle to Washington, D.C. is outright historic. What makes this trip so grand is that it’s the first commercial flight using the world’s first renewable, alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals (the remaining branches and limbs from harvested trees). The standard practice for over a century has been to pile and burn these residuals in the forest since the cost to haul it out of the woods has been too high to put it to better use. But thanks to the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), that looks to change.

NARA is a five-year research effort funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by Washington State University and its partners from public universities, government laboratories, and private industry. The grant provides technologies, resources and analyses for stakeholders interested in using forest residuals to create bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products such as jet fuel. Today’s flight is testament that this is one research project with results that aren’t sitting on a shelf gathering dust.

Forest Business Network is an outreach partner in the NARA effort, which is why I’m joining key NARA team members in D.C. this week to visit Senators and Representatives from states in the project’s Pacific Northwest study area. Our goal is to let Members of Congress know that biofuels are alive and well and that today’s success story is a precedent-setting reason for why we need more backing and funding to move this industry forward.

You can find out more on social media regarding this historic flight and our trip to D.C. by searching for #NARAFlight and via the official press release.

Editor’s Note: Forest Business Network is also an outreach partner in the Waste to Wisdom research project, which – similar to NARA – is researching ways to convert forest residues for use in bioenergy and bio-based products. Waste to Wisdom is funded by a $5.88 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative program: Award Number DE-EE0006297.


  1. Now THAT’S really cool…