Alcohol jet fuel to power first commercial flight
US airline Alaska Air has partnered with a chemical company to fly the first ever commercial aeroplane using renewable alcohol jet fuel.
Alaska Air plans to launch a demonstration flight using the clean-burning ‘alcohol to jet’ fuel – made by renewable biofuel company Gevo – which is created by converting corn and plant waste into isobutanol.
This isobutanol is then processed into jet fuel, which can be used as a clean substitute for petroleum-based fuels.
The test flight will go ahead providing Alaska Air receives the go-ahead from the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM International, towards the end of the year.
Gevo has been working to guidelines set out by ASTM International for more than six years, to allow the fuel to be available for standard use on any commercial aircraft.
Alaska Air has been proactively searching for alternative fuels in order to achieve its target to use sustainable biofuel in at least one of the airports it is based in by 2020.
The company was the first airline in the US to have flown multiple commercial passenger flights using biofuel from used cooking oil.
Agave, the plant used to create Tequila, could soon be used to fuel jets too following last year’s partnership between AusAgave Australia and biofuels organisation Byogy Renewables.