Alcohol-to-Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene Fuels Two Flights
Alaska Airlines made two flights yesterday using inedible corn-based alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene from Colorado’s Gevo. The demonstration flights using the 20% ATJ-SPK blend were from Seattle to San Francisco and to Washington, D.C. updated June 9
“Advancing the use of alternative jet fuels is a key part of our emission reduction strategy,” said Alaska Airlines senior VP Joseph Sprague. “Gevo’s jet fuel product is an important step forward, in that it has the potential to be scalable and cost effective, without sacrificing performance.”
The demonstration flights marked the first biofuel produced from a new feedstock to be certified and approved by ASTM International, the industry’s fuel standards association, since 2011, Alaska said. They “are a successful step toward the production of new fuels that will help airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” the airline said.
An Efficient Process
“Flying a commercial flight with our ATJ made from renewable resources has been a vision of ours for many years, and it has taken many years of work to get this far,” Gevo CEO Pat Gruber says in the announcement.
“We believe our technology has the potential to be the lowest cost, renewable carbon-based jet fuel, given the efficacy of our technology. We look forward to moving forward with Alaska, and others in the airline industry, to make renewable jet fuel widely successful as a product that substitutes for fossil fuels, and ultimately helps to reduce carbon emissions.”
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft are powered by CFM56-7B engines manufactured by a consortium of GE and Snecma (France).
Corn for Feed, and for Flying
The renewable fuel is made from sustainable corn grown and harvested by farmers who incorporate sustainable best practices from seed to harvest, including David Kolsrud of The Funding Farm in Brandon, S.D.
“I grow non-edible field corn and sell it to Gevo, which separates the nutritional protein portion of the corn for animal feed and then converts the starch from the kernel to isobutanol, which is then converted to jet fuel,” Kolsrud says in the Alaska Airlines announcement.
“This practice is a game-changer for traditional farmers like me, as this allows us to extend the use of our crop and create new jobs that frankly didn’t exist six years ago.”
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Source: Alaska Airlines with Fleets & Fuels follow-up