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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 at least a 10% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2028. Explore the Port's role to bring SAF to Sea-Tac Airport here

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?

  • SAF reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 50-80% compared to fossil fuel.
  • Biofuel feedstock, or source material, absorbs carbon dioxide during its growth cycle
    (e.g. photosynthesis).
  • SAF reduces sulfur emissions, soot, and ultra-ne particulates. All of which are associated
    with adverse human health impacts.
  • Biofuels, when blended, are virtually identical to the Jet A-1 fuel currently in use.
  • SAF can simply be dropped into the current fuel supply. No new engines, no new aircraft and no separate fuel delivery systems are needed at airports.
  • Creates clean energy jobs throughout our state, from Eastern Washington farmers to Northwest Washington reners to aviation industries roles in the Puget Sound.

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

Infrastructure – In 2016, the Port joined other stakeholders 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. The Port may have access to land to support locations for blending or production facilities.

Partnerships – The Port is in a unique position to help aggregate demand for fuel and send a strong market signal for SAF production here in Washington state. One major tactic to this end is the creation of an annual Washington SAF Summit, which the Port first hosted in March 2019 - bringing together advocates, producers, business leaders and elected officials to raise awareness and identify opportunities for collaboration. For more information, visit www.washingtonsaf.org

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.

Advocacy – The Port can reduce barriers and help create incentives for SAF use through advocacy at the local, state and federal level:

  • Implementing a state clean fuel standard. 
  • Ensuring authority for airports to use airport revenue and federal grant funding to support the air quality and carbon reduction benefits of fuel switching.
  • Better leveraging US Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture funding for SAF research and implementation.  
  • Funding new and expanded federal loans, grants and incentives for SAF feedstock production and processing, as well as biorefinery construction.

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