Stanford Supports Bill to Make Jet Fuel From Wood

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Here’s the latest from from the House Democrats about the bill 1st LD State Representative Derek Stanford is proposing:

While some people may see branches left over from logging or sawdust and wood chips from lumber mills as mere waste, State Rep. Derek Stanford sees it as a source of fuel—jet fuel, no less. So he’s sponsoring a bill to move one step closer to that goal.

“This biomass-to-fuel initiative will spur investment in new technology for renewable energy. This is exactly what we need to generate new green jobs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which is critical for our energy security and for the environment,” said the Bothell Democrat.

The 2009 Legislature passed a law authorizing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to move forward its Forest Biomass Initiative through biomass-to-energy demonstration projects in different parts of the state. Then in 2010, the Legislature passed another measure that enabled DNR to enter into long-term forest biomass supply agreements to ensure sustainable development of the industry.

This session, Stanford’s bill would take the next step by authorizing DNR to get a pilot scale, bio-aviation facility up and running. Stanford’s measure would allow DNR to continue moving its Forest Biomass Initiative forward and position Washington as a leader in en emerging biomass for jet fuel industry.

“We have an amazing opportunity to combine two traditional Washington industries: the aviation and forest sectors,” said Commissioner of Public Land Peter Goldmark. “By doing so we can sustainably manage our public lands, create innovative industries and jobs, and improve our environment.”

The bill would also create an expert panel to develop a strategy for a woody biomass supply chain for aviation fuels and report back to the Legislature its findings on:

  • Existing and potential sites for bio-aviation fuel production in the state.
  • Sustainable supply volumes.
  • Jobs that can be created through the development of this industry.
  • Opportunities for state and federal collaboration.
  • Funding opportunities for the demonstration project.
  • Identify further legislative action to facilitate the development of a forest biomass-to-aviation fuel sector.
  • Identify state and other resources that could be used to accelerate the supply chain development.

“This legislation is good for the aerospace industry and good for the environment,” Stanford added. “It’s a win-win for Washington with no cost to the state budget.”

Stanford said jet fuel is the way to go because its consumption has more than doubled in the United States over the past 25 years, growing from 32 million gallons per day in 1974 to 72 million gallons per day in 2000, declining to 68 million gallons per day in 2002. The Bothell lawmakers also pointed out that jet fuel makes sense because:

  • 2.2 billion people fly every year (over the last decade passenger traffic has grown by 45%)
  • Airplanes transport 35% of all international trade in goods annually.
  • The aviation industry is responsible for 2% of global anthropogenic GHG emissions.
  • Bio-derived fuels offer the prospect of significantly lower CO2 emissions from a lifecycle perspective compared to fossil-based jet fuel.

Aviation is a vital contributor to our state and our nation’s economies, and to global and regional economic recovery efforts,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy, Billy Glover. “Working closely with the Department of Natural Resources and others, we are identifying creative pathways to a renewable fuel supply that can reduce carbon emissions, ensure sustainable aviation growth and position Washington and our nation for continued prosperity well into the future.”

Stanford’s HB 1422 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Technology, Energy and Communications Committee tomorrow, Tuesday, February 1, 2001 at 10 a.m. in House Hearing Room B.

1 COMMENT

  1. My thesis in graduate school was based on the potential of developing the woody biomass industry for energy, as Rep. Standford is asking. It makes sense in terms of reducing carbon emissions, mitigating climate change, and reducing the number of catastrophic wildfires. There are a lot of cons to utilizing woody biomass if it’s not done right. The biggest is ensuring that you don’t transport the material long distances and add more carbon emissions than would be reduced by using the alternative fuels. 50 to 100 miles is ideal. Also, this is not about cutting old growth and wilderness areas. It’s about using slash piles in logged areas and reducing fuels in overgrown areas. I focused my research in Oregon so I’m curious as to how Washington plans on implementing it.

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