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Bioenergy > United States > Washington

NOTE: See also the page for Washington, D.C.

Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Washington state in the United States.







  • Seattle: Officials keen to make region a center for aviation biofuels: Efforts are under way to create an aviation biofuels industry in the Northwest, harnessing the presence of Boeing, Alaska Airlines and research labs across the state. 17 March 2012 by Kyung M. Song for The Seattle Times: "For three weeks last November, Alaska Airlines flew passengers aboard Boeing 737s powered in part with used cooking oil, becoming only the second American carrier to operate scheduled flights using renewable biofuel."
    • "The destination for one of the maiden flights from Seattle? Washington, D.C. — home to lawmakers Alaska and other U.S. airlines believe are crucial to eventually securing plentiful aviation biofuels that cost no more than petroleum jet fuel. That's a distant reality. As it was, the biofuel Alaska bought was made from restaurant grease by a Louisiana company and sold through a broker based in Amsterdam — at $17 a gallon."
    • In all, Alaska flew 75 flights with a 20 percent biofuels blend "to highlight the issue. But it was very expensive for us to do it," said Keith Loveless, Alaska's executive counsel, who led the trial effort."
    • "The goal is to establish the Pacific Northwest as an epicenter for aviation biofuels by harnessing the presence of Boeing, Alaska Airlines and research labs across the state. In addition, the region's forests and farms are promising sources of [ biomass ] crops, algae and woody material that could be converted to fuel." [2]


  • Biofuel from West Coat forests would increase carbon emissions, 26 October 2011 by Western Farm Press: "The largest and most comprehensive study yet done on the effect of biofuel production from West Coast forests has concluded that an emphasis on bioenergy would increase carbon dioxide emissions from these forests at least 14 percent, if the efficiency of such operations is optimal."
    • "The study was published in Nature Climate Change, by scientists from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and other institutions in Germany and France. It was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy."
    • "During the past four years, the study examined 80 forest types in 19 eco-regions in Oregon, Washington and California, ranging from temperate rainforests to semi-arid woodlands."
    • "The study examined thousands of forest plots with detailed data and observations, considering 27 parameters, including the role of forest fire, emissions savings from bioenergy use, wood product substitution, insect infestations, forest thinning, energy and processes needed to produce biofuels, and many others."
    • "Plans for greenhouse gas reduction call for up to 10 percent lower emissions by 2020, and forest-derived fuels are now seen as a carbon-neutral solution to reducing energy emissions, the researchers note. However, this study suggests that increases in harvest volume on the West Coast, for any reason, will instead result in average increases in emissions above current levels."[3]
  • U.S. gives $136 million for advanced biofuels research, 28 September 2011 by Reuters: "U.S. university researchers will get $136 million to develop advanced biofuels, including to develop jet fuel, by using tall grasses, woody plants and energy cane, the U.S. government said on Wednesday."
    • "Nearly two-thirds of the money will go toward aviation biofuels projects in the Pacific Northwest, including efforts to develop a regional source of bio-jet fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
    • "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who announced the awards in Seattle, said the project will help promote growth in rural America."
    • "The projects would focus on using woody crops to produce bio-gasoline and renewable aviation fuel, convert idle sawmills into bioenergy development centers and develop new feedstocks and techniques for sustainable forest production to create a regional source of renewable aviation fuel, and use switchgrass and woody biomass to produce low-cost sugars for conversion to butanol as well as use forest and mill residues and dedicated energy crops to produce biodiesel fuel, heat and power."[4]
  • Industry study says Northwest ideal for production of biofuels, 25 May 2011 by HeraldNet: "The Northwest has the ideal resources for producing biofuels for aviation, according to a study released Wednesday by a group including the Boeing Co. and Alaska Airlines."
    • "Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest concluded a 10-month study and released it Wednesday. The study looks at all phases of aviation biofuels development, including production, refining, transport and use by airlines."
    • "The group said favorable public policy and financial incentives will be needed to get a strong biofuel industry going in the region."
    • "Having a homegrown, sustainable fuel source should help stabilize fuel costs for the aviation industry."
    • "Billy Glover, vice president of environment and aviation policy for Boeing, outlined the fuel sources the group identified in the region. Those include algae, solid waste, forest residues and oil seeds such as camelina, which grows in fairly dry soil."
    • "Members of Washington's Congressional delegation introduced legislation that would create an even larger market for biofuels: the U.S. military. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with Rep. Jay Inslee, are sponsoring a bill that would increase the length of time in contract between the military and biofuel producers."
  • Washington Start-Up Promises Cheaper, More Efficient Biofuel Generation, 22 April 2011 by Triple Pundit: "One start-up in Washington state promises that it can develop biodiesel cost effectively with a wide range of feedstocks: everything from wood chips to waste from the pulp and paper industry."
    • "The company uses two fuel processing techniques that can convert wood and other plant-based materials into biodiesel: one is specifically from the pulp and paper industry, the other similar to petroleum refining."
    • "Instead of using enzymes or microbes, the process involves acid hydrolysis, almost identical to a process that the pulp and paper industry uses."
    • "According to Mercurius, a biorefinery using its technology could produce biodiesel at US$0.90 a gallon; that is almost two-thirds less than the cost to make a gallon of cellulosic ethanol, which currently runs about US$2.40 a gallon."[5]
  • Washington State to push for biomass-derived jet fuels, 14 January 2011 by BrighterEnergy.org: "Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has announced plans for proposals that would mean the next step for a Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest biomass pilot project, leading to the production of jet fuel from wood waste."
    • "Speaking at the Pacific West Biomass Conference in Seattle, Mr Goldmark said aviation biofuel meant a renewable, locally grown energy source could be produced 'combining Washington’s forestry heritage and our technology future.'"
    • "'Forest biomass represents an incredible opportunity to heat our homes, power our cities and fight climate change,' said Governor Chris Gregoire. 'Thanks to the hard work, groundbreaking research and leadership of so many, including Commissioner of Public Lands Goldmark, forest biomass may now fuel our airplanes.'"[6]


  • Alaska Airlines, Boeing, & Airports Partner on Biofuels, 14 July 2010 by Bill DiBenedetto: "Their endeavor, called the “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest” project, is the first regional assessment of its kind in the U.S., according to a joint announcement from the group this week."
    • "The assessment will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines. It will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, including algae, agriculturally based oilseeds such as camelina, wood byproducts and others. The project is jointly funded by the participating parties and is expected to be completed in about six months."
    • "Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh added, 'Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020.'"
    • "The assessment process will be managed by Climate Solutions, an Olympia, WA, environmental nonprofit organization, which will align the effort to sustainability criteria developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels. The project’s objective is to identify potential pathways and necessary actions to make aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators serving the region."[7]
  • Biofuels do well as jet fuel, Boeing says, 22 June 2009 by The Oregonian: "Good news for the struggling biofuels industry: The plant-derived fuels perform favorably as jet fuel, a study by Boeing and others in the aviation industry has concluded."
    • "In the [U.S.] Northwest, Imperium Renewables is banking on jet fuel to help drive up demand for fuel from its 100 million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant near Grays Harbor, Wash. The plant is currently idled amid the economic downturn."
    • "According to the study, a series of laboratory, ground and flight tests conducted between 2006 and 2009 indicated the test fuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based Jet A fuel."[8]
  • Planting seeds for Biofuel, 20 February 2006, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This 2006 article gives a rundown of the changing conditions for the production of biofuels in Washington state and some of the issues facing farmers, legislators, and consumers.



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