Alaska Airlines and Hawai`i BioEnergy LLC signed an agreement for the carrier to purchase sustainable biofuel for its aircraft. Founded in 2006, Hawai`i BioEnergy is a consortium of three of Hawai`i’s largest landowners and three venture capital companies who plan to use locally grown feedstocks to produce biofuels.
Alaska Airlines is Hawai`i BioEnergy’s second customer, and the first airline to sign a contract. Hawaiian Electric Co. previously announced it had agreed to purchase 10 million gallons of fuel a year from Hawai`i BioEnergy for power generation to the state, pending approval by the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. Hawai`i BioEnergy will ramp up production of the sustainable fuels within five years of regulatory approval, allowing Alaska Airlines to begin procuring sustainable jet fuel for its Hawai`i flights possibly as soon as fall 2018.
The feedstock for the biofuel is anticipated to be woody biomass-based and will be consistent with the sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder initiative concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass production and processing.
Alaska Airlines has reduced its carbon footprint intensity by 30% (measured by revenue passenger miles) since 2004. In 2011, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air were the first domestic airlines to fly multiple passenger flights powered by a biofuel blend.
Hawai`i BioEnergy LLC (HBE) is a consortium established by three of Hawai`i’s largest landowners: Kamehameha Schools, Grove Farm Company Inc., and Maui Land & Pineapple Inc., along with venture capital partnerships including Vinod Khosla, Ulupono Initiative and Finistere Ventures. HBE’s mission is to contribute to a sustainable energy future for the state of Hawai`i through the production of bio-based liquid fuels, power and other valuable co-products from locally grown feedstocks.
Hawai‘i BioEnergy is actively researching all technically, economically, and environmentally viable processing techniques and distribution channels for a variety of energy crops, including but not limited to sugarcane, woody biomass, and algae.