Alaska Airlines to fly on Gevo’s renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel

By Gevo Inc. | June 07, 2016

Gevo Inc. has announced that the first two commercial flights using Gevo’s renewable alcohol-to jet fuel (ATJ) took place June 7, originating in Seattle and flying to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, respectively.

The event marks a successful step toward new fuels that help airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Gevo’s alcohol to jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) process turns its bio-based isobutanol into jet fuel that meets the requirements of the recently revised ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) for up to a 30 percent fuel blend.  The two Alaska Airlines flights utilized a 20 percent fuel blend.

When compared to other fuel options, Gevo believes that its renewable ATJ has the potential to offer the most optimized operating cost, capital cost, feedstock availability, scalability, and translation across geographies.

Alaska Airlines has been a leader in seeking more sustainable fuels and these flights are part of the company’s long-term commitment to its sustainability strategy. Alaska Airlines has been a partner with Gevo in the commercialization of its ATJ, and has committed to other initiatives to reduce GHGs, most recently partnering with Boeing and the Port of Seattle on a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

These two commercial flights represent an important advance in biofuels for an industry that contributes about 2 percent of the total GHG emissions worldwide, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency. The agency also expects growth in air travel worldwide will result in double the number of passengers and flights by 2030. These additional flights will dramatically increase jet fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

“Alaska is committed to doing its part to reduce its carbon emissions and advancing the use of alternative jet fuels is a key part of our emission reduction strategy. 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,” said Joseph Sprague, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of communications and external relations.

“Flying a commercial flight with our jet fuel 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.  We believe our technology has the potential to be the lowest-cost, renewable carbon-based jet fuel, given the efficacy of our technology,” said Pat Gruber, Gevo CEO. “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.”