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Sustainable Aviation Fuels

The Port of Seattle has set a goal to power every flight fueled at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2028.

Washington State Leadership on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The Port of Seattle Commission has set the most aggressive goals of any airport for the implementation of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). This has been a central environmental priority of the Port since it began working with state and regional partners on sustainable fuels in 2008, as part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest initiative. Read the report

The Port continues to work with these partners as part of the WA State Aviation Biofuels Work Group that was established by the Washington State Legislature in 2012 and recently re-convened in 2018. The workgroup has provided three reports to the Legislature, including policy recommendations to help Washington become a leader in developing a sustainable aviation fuels market. Since 2012, the Legislature has implemented measures to speed permitting of infrastructure for SAF deployment.

In 2019, the Port is again working to support common-sense public policy changes that would help push this effort across the finish line.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels at Sea-Tac Airport video, March 2019Clean Fuel Standard

Currently, Washington state is home to several innovative biofuel production companies that are selling their products out of state to California, Oregon, and British Columbia. In those jurisdictions, the presence of a statewide “clean fuel standard” policy creates a market for sustainable fuels that we do not have in Washington. 

In 2017, the state’s Aviation Biofuels Work Group submitted recommendations to the Legislature that identified a statewide clean fuel standard as key to full-scale implementation of SAF.

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)?

  • SAF is a jet fuel made from renewable sources such as used cooking oil, animal tallow, wood waste, algae, oilseeds, municipal solid waste, etc.             
  • SAF is a fuel that can range in its renewable content and has been certified to the same safety standards as petroleum Jet-A. This is typically done by blending “raw” or “neat” aviation biofuels with Jet-A.

What are the Benefits of SAF?

  • Reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 80% compared with petroleum jet fuel
  • Reduces particulate matter (soot) significantly (not yet tested across all fuel types and engine conditions to give a specific range)
  • Creates clean energy jobs

What role can the Port of Seattle play to bring SAF to Sea-Tac?

Infrastructure – In 2016, we partnered with Boeing and Alaska Airlines to investigate the best locations to store and blend SAF into the airport’s fueling systems. The report identified some key locations on and off the airport’s property.

Financing – In 2017, Carbon War Room/Rocky Mountain Institute and SkyNRG investigated the feasibility of using different airport revenue streams at Sea-Tac to help bring down the cost to all airlines compared to petroleum jet fuel, as well as support the build-out of fueling infrastructure. The report identified a range of funding sources, and included ways an airport could be involved without directly paying for fuel.

Land Use – The Port may have access to land through its government partnerships to support locations for blending or production facilities.

Advocacy – The Port can bring attention to issues through education of citizens, passengers, businesses, and elected officials, to reduce barriers and help create incentives for SAF use.

Partnerships – The Port is in a unique position to aggregate demand for fuel and send a strong market signal for SAF production here in Washington state.

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