Flying on wood chips? Done!

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A regularly scheduled Alaska Airlines flight flew from Seattle, Washington To Washington, D.C. on Monday burning jet fuel made from limbs and branches left behind from harvests in managed forests.

This was the first time this type of alternative jet fuel was used on a commercial passenger flight and marks another milestone in the march to produce and use sustainable biofuels instead of fossil fuels for aviation.

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Solid waste, used cooking oil, corn, and a variety of starch-rich plant waste has also been used to create alternative biofuels that have been mixed with regular jet fuel for test flights flown by Alaska Airlines and other carriers.

This new type of wood-based biofuel was cooked up by the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and Colorado-based Gevo, Inc.

According to the airline, “while the 1,080 gallons of biofuel used on the flight has a minimal impact to Alaska Airlines’ overall greenhouse gas emissions, if the airline were able to replace 20 percent of its entire fuel supply at Sea-Tac Airport, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 142,000 metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to taking approximately 30,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.”

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