In its effort to reduce air pollution, Pitkin County Commissioners hear SAF presentation

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) increasingly used at other airports

An expert on sustainable aviation fuel spoke to the Board of Pitkin County Commissioners (BOCC) at a work session on August 15. The presentation was thanks to members of an Aspen/Pitkin County subcommittee working to reduce pollutants at the airport. The subcommittee is part of the BOCC-appointed Airport Advisory Board (AAB), which is made up of members of the community. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, presented information about how the aviation industry can reduce emissions by capturing above-ground waste carbon resources.

The aviation industry uses 100 billion gallons of fuel per year, Holmgren said, and the industry produces 2 percent of the world’s emissions. The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport uses 8 – 9 million gallons of aviation fuel per year.

“The bottom line is we have to bend this carbon curve. We’re working to find alternative sources of carbon – I think this is the transition we have to make. Carbon cannot keep coming from the ground,” said Holmgren who suggested Colorado use waste from municipal landfills, agricultural waste, and woody materials like beetle kill wood.

Pitkin County has long been committed to climate action and sustainability. Already, the airport has a carbon offset program and Atlantic Aviation, the operator of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO), purchases sustainable aviation fuel. In addition, the airport has plans to electrify its airfield in anticipation of future electric aircraft.

The Airport Advisory Board is aiming to implement strategies to reduce emissions by at least 30 percent as soon as possible, which was a community goal that emerged from an airport visioning process in 2020. One way to do that is by utilizing sustainable aviation fuel at the aspen airport.


Watch a video of the presentation at the BOCC work session.

Read coverage of the presentation in The Aspen Times.

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