What is the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA)?

Source: Scott Leavengood, Oregon Wood Innovation Center, Oregon State University

Spearheaded by Washington State University, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) will take a holistic approach to building a supply chain for aviation biofuel with the goal of increasing efficiency in everything from forestry operations to conversion processes. Using a variety of feedstocks, including forest and mill residues, construction waste, as well as new energy crops, the project aims to create a sustainable industry to produce aviation biofuels and important co-products.

The USDA NIFA (National Institute for Food and Agriculture) grant aims to address the urgent national need for a domestic biofuel alternative for U.S. commercial and military fleets. NARA researchers envision developing a new viable, aviation fuel industry using wood and wood waste in the Pacific Northwest where forests cover almost half of the region. The Northwest also has established oil refining and distribution assets as well as a significant aviation

To focus on sustainability, while developing regional biofuel solutions that are economically viable, socially acceptable, and meet the high environmental standards of the Pacific Northwest.

NARA is an alliance of scientists from public universities, government laboratories and private industry from throughout the Northwest, and beyond, that are joining together to focus on developing ways to turn one of the region’s most plentiful commodities-wood and wood waste-into jet fuel.

The current focus of NARA has been spurred by the recent harsh criticism of the U.S. biofuels industry for failing to translate existing technology into economically viable industries. Key challenges to be overcome by NARA include resolving various scientific/technical obstacles that prevent economic viability. Sustainability-economic, environmental, and social-is also key. NARA researchers will use specific metrics to assess and evaluate technological progress against critical milestones throughout the project.


Education: Engage citizens, meet future workforce needs, enhance science literacy in biofuels, and help people understand how they’re going into the new energy economy.

Sustainability Measurement: Evaluate and assess environmental, social and economic viability of the overall wood to biofuels supply chain, guiding the project as it goes forward.

Take a multi-pronged approach for the development and sustainable production of feedstocks made from wood materials, including forest and mill residues, municipal solid waste, and specialty energy crops.

Provide a biomass-derived replacement for aviation fuel and other petroleum derived chemicals in a way that is economically and technologically feasible.

Outreach: Serve as a conduit between researchers and community stakeholders, helping to transfer the science and technology of biofuels and important co-products to communities in the Northwest.

The project team is wanting to develop a database of interested stakeholders-people that want to be kept informed and perhaps even be involved in the project in some way. For example, a landowner might simply want to be notified when there are meetings planned in their community or when webinars are scheduled on specific topics.
Community leaders might want to request to be added to a team that is examining their potential as a location for biorefinery.

There is a form that is linked from the top of the page at: http://www.nararenewables.org/ that allows people to add themselves to the list of stakeholders/interested parties.