HONOLULU , July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Alaska Airlines and Hawai`i BioEnergy LLC announced today they have signed an agreement for the carrier to purchase sustainable biofuel for its aircraft. Founded in 2006, Hawai`i BioEnergy is a consortium of three of Hawaii's largest landowners and three venture capital companies who plan to use locally grown feedstocks to produce biofuels.
Alaska Airlines is Hawai`i BioEnergy's second customer, and the first airline to sign a contract. Hawaiian Electric Co. previously announced it had agreed to purchase 10 million gallons of fuel a year from Hawai`i BioEnergy for power generation to the state, pending approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Hawai`i BioEnergy will ramp up production of the sustainable fuels within five years of regulatory approval, allowing Alaska Airlines to begin procuring sustainable jet fuel for its Hawaii flights possibly as soon as fall 2018.
"We are pleased to be partnering with Hawai`i BioEnergy to encourage the production and commercial distribution of sustainable fuels," said Keith Loveless, Alaska Air Group's executive vice president and general counsel. "Beyond the environmental advantages, it improves the fuel supply integrity in the state of Hawaii, which will allow for the further growth of our airline operations throughout the Islands."
"Alaska Airlines shares our goals of environmental responsibility and our commitment to sustainable, local energy production," said Joel Matsunaga, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hawai`i BioEnergy. "The development and commercialization of local, renewable energy is of critical importance to Hawaii, given the state imports 95 percent of its energy needs. Use of locally grown feedstocks for biofuel production will improve Hawaii's energy sustainability and security while creating jobs in our communities."The feedstock for the biofuel is anticipated to be woody biomass-based and will be consistent with the sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder initiative concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass production and processing.