U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to support public-private initiatives in her home state of Washington designed to develop aviation biofuels for military and commercial aircraft. In a letter to the Secretary Cantwell said research has shown the technical viability of turning crops and biomass into aviation fuel, securing a reliable domestic supply for our military and commercial jets.
One initiative in the Pacific Northwest is examining economics, potential feedstocks and technical and policy hurdles to developing an aviation biofuels industry in a four-state area. Another project is a commercial arrangement to produce jet fuel from camelina crops for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The plan is to grow camelina in Montana, transport the crop to a refinery, and then ship the jet fuel via pipeline to the airport.
Cantwell, who chairs the Energy Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says aviation biofuels offer potentially greater economic opportunity for farmers, aviation and transportation and U.S. energy independence. She says the industry will require federal support to reach its potential.