The Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines and Boeing are partnering to move toward a significant environmental goal: powering all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel.
Sea-Tac is the first United States airport to lay out a long-term roadmap to incorporate aviation biofuel into its infrastructure in a cost-effective, efficient manner.
At the Sea-Tac fuel farm today, executives for the port, Alaska Airlines, and Boeing signed a memorandum to launch a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study that will assess costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver a blend of aviation biofuel and conventional jet fuel to aircraft at Sea-Tac, a crucial step toward routine biofuel use in the future.
“As leaders in aviation biofuels, this will send a signal to airlines and biofuel producers that Sea-Tac Airport will be ready to integrate commercial-scale use of aviation biofuels,” said Port of Seattle commissioner John Creighton.
“Biofuel infrastructure will make Sea-Tac Airport an attractive option for any airline committing to use biofuel, and will assist in attracting biofuel producers to the region as part of a longer-term market development strategy.”
The partners’ longer-term plan is to incorporate significant quantities of biofuel into Sea-Tac’s fuel infrastructure, which is used by all 26 airlines and more than 380,000 flights annually at the airport.
Sea-Tac is the 13th busiest airport in the US and will serve over 42 million domestic and international passengers this year.
Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac’s largest carrier and leader of the airport’s fuelling consortium, said the airline wants to incorporate biofuel into flight operations at one or more of its hubs by 2020, with Sea-Tac as a first choice for the Seattle-based airline.
“Biofuel offers the greatest way to further reduce our emissions,” said Sprague.
“This study is a critical step in advancing our environmental goals and stimulating aviation biofuel production in the Pacific Northwest.”
The Port of Seattle will manage the $250,000 study as the biofuel road-mapping process and, as Sea-Tac Airport’s governing authority, would handle the engineering and integration of biofuel infrastructure on Port property such as the airport’s fuel farm.
An RFP for the infrastructure study will be issued in the spring of 2016, and the study is expected to be completed by late 2016.
Currently, aviation biofuels are not produced in Washington State and must be imported by truck, rail or barge.