Alaska Airlines Partners with NARA on Alternative Jet Fuels

By Jesse Sokolow on 3 June 2015
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A  Bombardier Q400 aircraft in Alaska Airlines livery

A Bombardier Q400 aircraft in Alaska Airlines livery

Alaska Airlines announced a new partnership with Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, or NARA, that is aimed at furthering the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from leftover tree limbs and branches after a forest harvest.

Alaska says it plans to conduct a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of alternative biofuel produced by NARA.  NARA, led by Washington State University, is building a supply chain within Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana using forest residuals to make aviation biofuel.

The alternative fuel is a viable green option, as residual treetops and branches are frequently burned after an area has been harvested, Alaska says, and using them as the feedstock of the biojet fuel supply chain will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

In 2011, Alaska became the first American carrier to fly multiple commercial passenger flights using a biofuel refined from used cooking oil, and completed 75 flights between Seattle and both Portland and Washington, D.C.  Later this year, the airline plans to fly the first-ever commercial flight using an alcohol-to-jet fuel.

NARA is a five-year project comprised of 22 member organizations from industry, academia, and government laboratories, and is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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