Alaska Airlines to Test ATJ Biofuel BlendBy Engineering360 News Desk | March 30, 2016
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.
“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.