An Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C., on Monday morning was powered with a jet-fuel blend containing 20 percent renewable biofuel made from Pacific Northwest forest residuals — the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests.
Billed as the first commercial flight running partly on wood, the alternative jet fuel was produced through the research efforts of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). Led by Washington State University, the group aims to build a sustainable supply chain for aviation biofuel using the leavings from logging operations.
The wood came from Washington, Oregon and Montana, including forests managed by Weyerhaeuser, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes.
Biofuels company Gevo used patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol at a fermentation facility in St. Joseph, Mo., then further converted that at its biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas.