Alaska Airlines now flying on Gevo fuels: renewable jet fuel made from alcohol

June 8, 2016 |

BD TS 060916 Gevo smIf you are an ardent follower of the stock market, or even perhaps the Biofuels Digest Index equities, you would have noticed yesterday that Gevo’s stock rose by more than 50 percent on a single trading day, with a gigantic rise in the trading volume to nearly 45 million shares, almost 15X the normal trading volume.

Today, the stock opened at $1.12 today and climbed as high as $1.24 before closing at $0.96, another 59% up. Trading volume was a completely mammoth 124 million shares.

The share volume is all the remarkable because, ahem, Gevo only has 38 million shares outstanding. It’s as if the entire ownership of the company changed overnight. Several times over. And apparently, the new owners are feeling far more bullish than the old ones.

Some wags might characterize the change in fortunes as a “dead cat bounce”, noting that Gevo has fallen so far from its multi-hundred million company valuation that even the slightest good news could trigger some positive momentum. That what we are seeing is something more like the “I’m Not Dead Yet” scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

But, there is substantive news on the Gevo front.

Namely, that the first two commercial flights using Gevo’s renewable alcohol to jet fuel have originated in Seattle and flying to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, respectively.

The event marks a step toward new fuels that help airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Gevo’s alcohol to jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene process turns its bio-based isobutanol into jet fuel that meets the requirements of the recently revised ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) for up to a 30 percent fuel blend.  The two Alaska Airlines flights today utilized a 20 percent fuel blend.

When compared to other fuel options, Gevo believes that its renewable ATJ has the potential to offer the most optimized operating cost, capital cost, feedstock availability, scalability, and translation across geographies.

More on Gevo and its aviation markets

Gevo’s Alcohol to Jet Fuel clears key ASTM hurdle

Alaska Airlines to fill up with 1,000 gallons of Gevo fuel for commercial flights

A Visual Guide to Gevo’s ATJ fuel

Alcohol to renewable jet fuel: The Digest’s 2015 8-Slide Guide to Gevo’s ATJ

Background on Alaska’s efforts

Alaska Airlines has been a leader in seeking more sustainable fuels and these flights are part of the company’s long-term commitment to its sustainability strategy. Alaska Airlines has been a partner with Gevo in the commercialization of its ATJ, and has committed to other initiatives to reduce GHGs, most recently partnering with Boeing and the Port of Seattle on a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

These two commercial flights represent an advance in biofuels for an industry that contributes about 2 percent of the total GHG emissions worldwide, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency. The agency also expects growth in air travel worldwide will result in double the number of passengers and flights by 2030. These additional flights will dramatically increase jet fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Alaska is committed to doing its part to reduce its carbon emissions and advancing the use of alternative jet fuels is a key part of our emission reduction strategy. Gevo’s jet fuel product is an important step forward, in that it has the potential to be scalable and cost-effective, without sacrificing performance,” said Joseph Sprague, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of Communications and External Relations.

“Flying a commercial flight with our jet fuel made from renewable resources has been a vision of ours for many years, and it has taken many years of work to get this far.  We believe our technology has the potential to be the lowest-cost, renewable carbon-based jet fuel, given the efficacy of our technology,” said Pat Gruber, Gevo CEO. “We look forward to moving forward with Alaska, and others in the airline industry, to make renewable jet fuel widely successful as a product that substitutes for fossil fuels, and ultimately helps to reduce carbon.”

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