Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Alaska Airlines

June
26th

Aviation biofuel plans could be a boon for the Northwest


Camelina plant shows promise as the source of aviation biofuel. (MCT)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

A humble plant grown in ancient times for its oil is making a welcome comeback – as a source of jet fuel. And the Pacific Northwest is well poised to be a leader in this growing and important industry.

Camelina, a flowering plant related to mustard, is being tested as a biofuel for military and commercial aviation.

A 50-50 blend already has been used successfully by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds squadron. And Boeing’s 747-8 freighter that flew trans-Atlantic into the Paris Air Show last week used a mixture of 85 percent kerosene and 15 percent camelina oil to power its four new General Electric engines.

Camelina-based biofuel is exciting for a number of reasons. It produces about 80 percent less carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel. It can be grown with little water or nitrogen fertilizer. And it doesn’t displace food crops, as is the case with corn used to produce ethanol.
After the oil is extracted from the camelina seeds, the residual meal can be used as feed for livestock and poultry. (Bonus: Research shows that turkeys fed the camelina meal produce meat rich in omega-3 fatty acid.)
Read more »

Aug.
31st

Quieter, cleaner, safer skies? Sign us up

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Boeing 737s land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport many times a day, but a recent 3 a.m. arrival was something special.

An Alaska Airlines jet touched down carrying 40 engineers and technicians who were on hand to witness a test run of the future of air travel.

Their landing was characterized by a short approach, a smooth descent, and minimal chatter between the pilots and air traffic controllers. In other words, it was anything but ordinary.

Read more »