Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) has moved a step closer to funding sustainable aviation biofuels (SAF), thanks to recommendations outlined in a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room and partner SkyNRG.

Image from Don Wilson

The report describes a range of funding sources that could cover the higher cost of biofuel, and it equips the airport to play a decisive role in the long-term financing of SAF.

Sea-Tac is one of the first airports in the world to pursue this approach, with an objective of making SAF  available for all airlines at the airport. 

Image from Don Wilson

Global aviation generates approximately two per cent of global greenhouse gases and is forecast to grow to five per cent by 2050. Most industries have a range of cost-effective options to reduce carbon emissions but aviation does not. The largest opportunity to reduce emissions is to switch fossil-based fuels to SAF – however this currently costs up to three times as much.

AltAir Fuels, based in California, is the only facility in the world regularly producing aviation biofuels. The report sets out how SAF commercialisation is in its infancy and the industry is grappling with many market and economic challenges. 

The main reason for the slow uptake on SAF is due to the price premium and the low capacity for producing large quantities. 

Image from Don Wilson

The report argues the next step is to build the business case for a local supply chain and urges the airport to create a team who can work on this.

“The information contained in this study will help us take the next steps toward our goal of making the biofuel available, cost-effective and practical for all airlines at Sea-Tac,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner, John Creighton.

The Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room are doing wonderful work to break down market barriers in many different sectors to reduce carbon emissions. Head over to their website to find out more about their various initiatives.

The report can be downloaded here.