WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

Cougar Chat, In the News, Land grant mission in action, improving everyday lives

From forests to fields to flying: land grant mission in action, improving everyday lives

jet on biofuel

Welcome to the fifth in our series that extends information about WSU’s land grant mission and demonstrates how our university is increasing knowledge, providing research, and making a difference in our everyday lives. This week we are featuring WSU research projects that are making our state the living laboratory for aviation biofuels. We ask you to “Take Five” minutes and share these stories with your legislators by logging on and logging in as WSU Impact member. We offer samples and tips to spread the good word, because WSU is doing amazing things here in the state, country, and world. There is no one better than you to share the information with your three legislators.

Other stories in the series:
WSU. Land grant mission in action, improving everyday lives
WSU Vancouver MAP program
WSU Vancouver Hospitality Business Management Program
WSU Global Campus 

Washington state has many attributes. Long known for its natural beauty, it also spawns new industries and products through its entrepreneurial  and socially responsible spirit, innovation, and scientific ingenuity. Now, because of Washington State University and partners that represents the best of our region, our state will also be known as an epicenter for sustainable aviation biofuel research and development.

What does this mean?

It means harnessing the collective skills and manufacturing acumen of companies like Boeing, Alaska Air, and Weyerhaeuser, the knowledge and expertise of public entities such as ports, and the capabilities and scientific rigor of WSU and other research partners and academic institutions. The result is a hub of activity all aimed at creating high quality, sustainable aviation biofuels from non-food plant material.

Our state has managed, working forests with un-harvested biomass & residuals that could provide fuel sources. WSU is taking the lead on research

Our state has almost 11 million acres of managed, working forests with un-harvested biomass & residuals that could provide fuel sources. WSU is taking the lead on research

The WSU-led biofuel projects embrace historic strengths of our state: forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and environmental sustainability. WSU is focusing research on what it does best, namely, basic plant science. It is currently looking at the energy potential of our abundant forests. Forest management operations leave behind nearly a million tons of un-harvested biomass that may be viable for making aviation biofuel. WSU is also researching oil seeds like camelina and perennial energy crops that could create new markets for farmers while also fueling airplanes. Airlines could have quality sources of fuel that are renewable and limit the carbon footprint of commercial aircraft.

The various research projects have the potential to create new jobs and drive economic development in rural communities by building the framework for a biofuels industry. Over the next few years, WSU will evaluate the planting, growing, harvest and conversion of crops believed to be potentially suitable for industrial grade, yet environmentally friendly biofuel production. Finally, WSU is honored to be heading up a new Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment, allowing for even more synergy, collaboration and partnership in biofuels development and production.

In a Nutshell

Camelina seeds, which contain 35% oil and a promising source of alternative fuel

Camelina seeds, which contain 35% oil, is a promising source for biofuels

WSU is addressing bottlenecks that have prevented plant sources from being readily converted to quality energy sources. For our state and elsewhere, WSU thinks there is potential to replace some of the natural resource jobs lost in the region in recent years. For timber-dependent towns throughout Washington state, this is great news. For agricultural communities, it could mean new markets and value added opportunities for farm-based feedstock. And, for our manufacturing centers and airports, we can take pride that WSU is partnering to help create efficient and sustainable alternative biofuels.

The partnership assembled to work on the research and meet the goals includes the private sector, federal, state, and local governments, the university sector and other collaborators. This is a formidable example of expertise, knowledge, and experience coming together to pose questions and solve problems.

WSU’s research is leading to discovery and innovation needed to meet the complex energy needs of our global community. That the research and partnership also pays huge dividends to our state’s citizens is another demonstration of how WSU’s land grant mission is always in action and improves everyday lives.

To learn more about the various WSU biofuels projects, please visit:

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