Alaska Airlines is poised to fly the first-ever commercial test flight using renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) developed by Gevo.

The development follows passage of a concurrent ballot by ASTM International Committee D02 approving the revision of ASTM D7566 ("Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons") to include alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) derived from renewable isobutanol.

Once the revision is published by ASTM, Gevo’s ATJ will be eligible to be used as a blending component in standard Jet A-1 for commercial airline use in the United States and a number of other countries. Gevo’s ATJ would be eligible to be used for up to a 30% blend in conventional jet fuel for commercial flights.

Gevo has developed a renewable method to produce high-purity isobutanol. Image credit: Gevo.Gevo has developed a renewable method to produce high-purity isobutanol. Image credit: Gevo.“We’re pleased that this newly revised standard now supports isobutanol-based alcohol-to-jet aviation biofuels, and we look forward to flying it this year," says Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' senior vice president of external relations. "Developing a domestic, competitively priced, sustainable supply of biofuels is fundamental to Alaska Airlines' long-term sustainability goals."

According to Gevo Chief Executive Officer Patrick Gruber, ATJ provides a "cost-competitive path" for commercial airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint and reduce their particulate emissions from combustion.

Isobutanol is a four-carbon alcohol traditionally produced via high-cost petrochemical feedstocks. According to Gevo, the resulting market for isobutanol has historically been limited to markets such as solvents and other specialty chemicals.

Gevo says it has developed a renewable method to produce a 98+%-purity product using sugars from "any available source"—allowing for significantly lower-cost isobutanol production.

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