Cross-Country Alaska Airlines Flight Powered By Logging Slash

A project to demonstrate that jets could someday be powered by logging leftovers from Northwest forests gets a culminating test Monday morning. A Boeing 737 is scheduled to take off with fuel tanks filled partly with a wood-based jet fuel. Alaska Airlines fueled a regularly scheduled cross-country flight from Seattle to Washington, DC with a […]

A project to demonstrate that jets could someday be powered by logging leftovers from Northwest forests gets a culminating test Monday morning. A Boeing 737 is scheduled to take off with fuel tanks filled partly with a wood-based jet fuel.

Alaska Airlines fueled a regularly scheduled cross-country flight from Seattle to Washington, DC with a blend of 80 percent regular jet fuel and 20 percent “biojet.” In a sign of how safe the makers think this fuel is, the test flight will carry newly reelected members of Congress back to Washington, D.C., for a lame duck session.

A $40 million, five year grant from the USDA funded the consortium of university labs and private industry that refined the biofuel. Washington State University Professor Ralph Cavalieri, project director at the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, said dozens of previous test flights have taken off with alternative jet fuel.

“What is unique about this one is that in the past the alternative jet fuels have been made from vegetable oil or animal oil or reclaimed fats and so on,” Cavalieri said. “But we are using woody waste, forest slash piles.” Cavalieri said slightly more than 1,000 gallons of biojet fuel were produced for this project using limbs and branches left over from Weyerhaeuser Company and Muckleshoot and Flathead Nation tribal logging operations.

The processing, conversion and purification of that wood waste into highly refined jet fuel borrowed elements from pulp and paper production and ethanol manufacturing. It involved companies in Oregon, Colorado, Missouri, Texas and Canada.

From KLCC 89.7: http://klcc.org/post/cross-country-airline-flight-powered-logging-slash

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