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Port of Seattle announces partnership for sustainable aviation fuels at Sea-Tac Airport; 10% minimum by 2028, 50% by 2050

The Port of Seattle recently announced today that 13 airlines, including Alaska Airlines, ANA, Delta Air Lines, Horizon Airlines, Lufthansa, Spirit Airlines and more, have agreed to collaborate on a work plan for providing all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with access to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a low-carbon and sustainably produced biofuel alternative to jet fuel.

The partners will work to meet the specific sustainable aviation fuel timetable and goals approved by the Port of Seattle Commission in December 2017: for a minimum of 10% of sustainable jet fuel to be produced locally from sustainable sources within 10 years, increasing to 50% by 2050.

Airlines at Sea-Tac Airport will be projected to use about 700 million gallons of jet fuel per year. A 10% reduction would eliminate 70 million gallons of jet fuel, the equivalent of 682,500 metric tons of airlines’ greenhouse gas emissions.

An industry leader in the use of sustainable aviation biofuel, since 2011 Alaska Airlines has flown nearly 80 flights using sustainable aviation biofuel made of used cooking oil, forest residuals and non-edible, sustainable corn. Alaska is also the leading US airline on the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index and has been ranked Nº 1 in fuel efficiency seven consecutive years by the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent, nonprofit research organization..

The work plan will explore the use of sustainable aviation fuels as well as a variety of other mechanisms that could contribute to carbon and air emission reductions, including technology, operations, infrastructure, and future aircraft technology.

A committee will be formed to identify the steps necessary to deliver on the first goal of 10% jet fuel available at Sea-Tac produced regionally from sustainable sources by 2028. Recommendations will include how to create and benefit from opportunities, address challenges, and support policies and financial incentives needed to meet that initial goal.

No commitment of funds is part of the agreement, however, the parties will commit to staff resources to accomplish development of the plan on specific timelines:

  • Form the Airline-Port committee within 30 days;

  • Within two months of forming, return to Commission with a scope of work;

  • Draft a strategic plan within nine months of Commission approval of scope; and

  • Draft a final strategic plan within 12 months of forming the committee for Commission approval or identification of additional work needed.

This agreement continues the Port’s work to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and help airlines transition to SAF. In 2011, the port joined more than 40 regional stakeholders in developing the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest study, which shows the economic and environmental benefits of developing SAF here in the Pacific Northwest. In 2016 the Port worked with Boeing and Alaska Airlines for a first-of-its-kind study identifying the best infrastructure options for the delivery of the SAF to Sea-Tac. The Port also worked with Carbon War Room and SkyNRG on a report analyzing supply chain financing options.

Comments

Engineer-Poet

I just checked out the info on one of the more likely sources of "renewable" fuel, landfill gas.  Cedar Hills Regional Landfill produces just 15.4 million therms of LFG per year (a therm is 100,000 BTU).  At roughly 140,000 BTU/gallon, that's equivalent to just 11 million gallons of jet fuel even before losses in conversion.

Conclusion:  using current approaches, getting to 10% renewable jet is going to be a MAJOR problem.  Getting to 50% is likely impossible.

SJC

Low carbon jet fuel is a great idea, even if it is only 10%.

Engineer-Poet

Setting a course which can only get to 10% no-carbon is aiming for failure.  We need to find a course which can get to 100% and beyond, and then stick to it.

Yes, I have a scheme for doing this.  I'm in the patent process right now.

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