Alaska Airlines makes history with flight powered by wood

Alaska Airlines is now the first company to use bio-fuel made out of wood on a commercial flight.

The historic flight took off Monday morning from Sea-Tac to Washington DC.

“It really is the dawn of a new day when it comes to bio-fuels,” says John Creighton, Commission President for the Port of Seattle.

KIRO 7 was there as the 737 jet fueled up with a blend of petroleum and a bio-fuel made from tree limbs and branches, leftovers from harvested trees right here in the Pacific Northwest.

The alternative jet fuel was produced through the effort of the Northwest Advanced Renewable Alliance or NARA led by Washington State University.

“The use of the portion of the forest residues, that slash piles, point the way for a sustainable future,” says Ralph Cavalieri, Washington State University NARA Director.

The college worked with the biotech firm, GEVO Inc, where researchers converted wood chips into alcohol that then became bio-fuel.

KIRO 7 asked about cost and when this product would be available for commercial flights on a daily basis.

Officials say that is still unknown.




“We need to go out and get investment and be able to get money and funding from both the government and private sector to turn this into reality,” says Glen Johnston, VP of Regulatory Affairs for GEVO INC.

For now though, passengers we talked to say it’s pretty cool to fly cross country with fewer carbon footprints.

“I think it’s a great first flight. We will always remember that,” says Theresa Miller.

"We’ll see where it takes off, " says fellow passenger Greg Taylor. “We’ll see where it goes from here but I think it’s a great idea.”

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines also flew a demo flight to San Francisco using bio-fuel made from corn.

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