Alaska Airlines Testing Flights With Fuel Made From Fermented Corn

Image courtesy of zonaphoto

Fuel prices may have dropped for airlines in the past year, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for alternative means to power their aircraft. To that end, Alaska Airlines today flew two flights using a biofuel mixture derived from fermented corn. 

The Seattle Times reports that Alaska Airlines was slated to fly two planes from Seattle to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon powered with a mixture of traditional jet fuel and biofuel from Colorado-based Gevo.

Gevo uses a system similar to the production of ethanol to create a form of alcohol called isobutanol. That is then converted into renewable jet fuel at a biorefinery in Texas, the Seattle Times reports.

Tuesday’s test flights are part of Alaska Airlines’ mission to use sustainable biofuel at one or more of its hub airports by 2020.

Previously, in November 2011, the carrier flew 75 flights using biofuel made from cooking oil from Seattle to Portland and Washington, D.C.

Alaska isn’t the only airline looking to use alternative fuel in flights. Last year, United Airlines said it would begin testing fuel generated from farm waste and oils derived from animal fats.

Before that, in 2014, Southwest Airlines announced it would purchase three million gallons of “low-carbon renewable jet fuel” — made from forest remnants — each year from Colorado-based Red Rocks Biofuels. The fuel will be used to fill up jets at airports in the San Francisco area.

Alaska Air flights today using fuel made from fermented corn [The Seattle Times]