Could the algae have answers?
Alaska Airlines teamed with with airports in Portland, Seattle and Spokane, as well as Washington State University, to see if the four-state Pacific Northwest region can tap into biomass options as possible alternatives for developing renewable jet fuel.
The project, expected to be completed in half a year, will analyze indigenous sources -- including algae, agricuturally based oils, wood byproducts and other materials -- to see if they can propel jets without creating the level of greenhouse gas emissions that petroleum-based fuel leaves in its wake.
The theory is that because biomass sources absorb C02 while they grow and feature higher energy content than currently used fossil fuel, their increased increased efficiency could greatly reduce airlines' carbon footprint if biomass fuel can become commercially viable.
"Through this initiative, we are joining other key stakeholders in our region to explore the development of alternatives to jet fuel that could further reduce our carbon footprint," says Alaska Air Group chairman and CEO Bill Ayer.
The assessment, "Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest," will be managed by Climate Solutions.