Commercial aviation accounts for two-percent of global pollution and is projected to grow between three- to nearly five- percent by 2050 if no action is taken to reduce carbon emissions. The aviation industry has already made improvements in airplane design, routing, and operations to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. To further reduce its carbon footprint, the aviation industry is now looking into adopting biojet fuel for plane usage. However, the development of a sustainable aviation biofuels industry will require coordination among representatives from federal, tribal, state, and local government; the aviation industry; academic and national laboratory research organizations; and biomass feedstock producers.
Overview of Center Involvement
The Center has been involved in three different, but related projects, supporting diverse teams of academic, public, and private entities working to address the technical, economic, and environmental challenges to developing aviation biofuels in the Northwest.
Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Northwest (SAFN) was a four-state (WA, OR, ID, and MT) effort to conduct a regional assessment of the challenges and opportunities associated with the production of sustainable aviation biofuel in the Northwest.
Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) focused on overcoming key obstacles that prevented wood-based jet fuel from being viable. The Center facilitated the NARA Executive Committee, Leadership Team, and Advisory Board, which improved coordination among entities and allowed them to focus on the science, rather than the process. The Center also distributed briefings to policy makers across the Northwest on NARA and Advanced Hardwood Biofuels. Both NARA and AHB were supported by grants from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
Currently, the Center is working with WSU’s Office of Clean Technology to coordinate the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Work Group.
Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Work Group
The Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Work Group seeks to further the development of sustainable aviation as a productive industry in Washington and to provide recommendations to the Governor and appropriate committees of the Legislature. In 2018, the State Legislature reinstituted and directed Washington State University’s Office of Clean Technology to convene the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Work Group. The Office asked the Ruckelshaus Center to help facilitate meetings and to support the development of consensus-based recommendations that are due by December 1, 2020.
Final Report 2020
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Opportunities for Washington (pdf)
Carol Sim & Michael Wolcott, WSU Office of Clean Technology
Molly Stenovec & Michael Kern, Ruckelshaus Center
Updated on November 30, 2020