What if we could ‘grow’ jet fuel using a common waste wood? There’s a chance we soon will.

binyangcenterandresearchteam12-1-15 750xx2700-1519-0-290For those concerned about over-dependence on fossil fuels, finding a combustible fuel derived from a renewable source would be a game-changer.

Consider the game changed, courtesy of a research team at Washington State University working in collaboration with the Boeing Corporation who have discovered how to turn wood fiber into jet fuel.

For mass transportation companies such as those in the air travel sector, a fuel derived from a renewable resource such as wood could be a life-saver if new climate-related regulations are imposed.

From the Puget Sound Business Journal:

Just as world leaders are struggling to throttle back climate change at the Paris summit, researchers at Washington State University are honing a new method to turn wood fibers into jet fuel for Boeing (NYSE: BA) jets. …

The research is important because the wood fibers, called lignin, are the second-most common type of renewable carbon source on earth, after cellulose. …

The research is in collaboration with the Boeing Co., which has been putting a lot of energy into developing replacements for fossil fuels, for commercial jets. …

If it’s successful, the technology could light up a new industry in the Northwest, turning the 10 million tons of wood waste the region generates annually into at much as 400 million gallons of biofuel.

Alaska Airlines, which teamed with the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance in early June, is planning a first flight using the waste wood fuel early next year, said Ralph Cavalieri, executive director of the alliance, in October.

“This is all about taking Northwest forest slash piles, and finding a purpose from them, other than letting them rot,” he said. “It’s a very detailed and complex project, to get all of the participants lined up to get this to work.”

 Read the full article in the Puget Sound Business Journal >>

[photo credit: Washington State University]