Alaska Airlines Makes History By Fueling Flight With Biofuel From Logging Scraps

The company intends to replace 20% of its fuel with clean energy to save the atmosphere 142,000 metric tons of CO2.


Credit: Alaska Airlines

On Tuesday, November 15th, Alaska Airlines made history by flying the world’s first commercial flight using a sustainable, alternative biofuel sourced from forest residuals. The flight departed from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and successfully landed at the Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Alaska Air relays that the plane was fueled with a 20% blend of the new, sustainable biofuel sourced from limbs, stumps, and branches that were collected after a timber harvest on private land. Normally, the excess trimmings from forest thinning are piled and burned, but in this case, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) utilized them to make fuel. NARA is a five-year initiative that brought tougher 32 member organizations under a USDA grant to demonstrate the viability of producing sustainable jet fuel from logging scraps.

Reportedly, using the renewable biofuel cuts greenhouse gas emissions by an astonishing 50-80% from its creation use. This is good news, because plane travel is one of the most environmentally damaging ways to venture to new locations. To benefit the environment and boost its image as an eco-friendly airline, Alaska Airlines intends on replacing 20% of its fuel use with green energy. This will save the atmosphere from 142,000 metric tons of CO2.

The company shares:

“We strive to set ourselves apart by driving sustainable innovation and performance, and are committed to making choices that have a positive impact on our communities. For us, it’s just how we do business. In 2013, we developed a 2020 sustainability strategy to focus our efforts on the most important sustainability challenges. Since then, we’ve reported openly on our goals, progress and challenges.”

Credit: Alaska Air

Credit: Alaska Air

Several elected officials joined the 163 passengers of the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 jet, including U.S. Representative Susan DelBene and U.S. Senator Patty Murray. After landing, Murray told the press:

“I am proud to see the world’s first biojet fuel made from forest residuals being flown on an Alaska Airlines airplane. The Pacific Northwest continues to be on the cutting edge of new technology that will make airplanes better, safer and more efficient, and I’m thrilled that so many stakeholders came together and that Washington State University has led this important effort.”

DelBene added:

“Today’s flight demonstrates that Washington state’s innovation economy is once again at the forefront of collaborative, transformative research by using material that would otherwise be discarded to create a new biofuel. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we know that the natural environment that surrounds us is what makes living here so special. We have a tremendous opportunity in our region to build a new green economy and find innovative solutions to address climate change for our health and future generations, as this project highlights.”

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