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United Airline Uses Biofuel for Regular Flights from LAX to SFO

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Bringing biofuels to LAX

United is making history by bringing commercial-scale, low-carbon, renewable jet fuel to our Los Angeles hub, in partnership with AltAir Fuels and Honeywell UOP. Using technology from Honeywell UOP, AltAir retrofitted a largely idled refinery in Paramount, California, into an advanced biofuel facility that produces 30 million gallons per year. This has brought new clean-energy jobs to the area.

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The AltAir facility converts feedstock, such as agricultural wastes, and non-edible natural oils into low-carbon advanced biofuels. The renewable jet fuel is expected to provide more than a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis when compared to traditional jet fuel.

UAL has collaborated with AltAir since 2009, with a shared goal of bringing an ongoing source of sustainable aviation biofuels to an airport. United has agreed to buy up to 15 million gallons of low-carbon, renewable jet fuel over a three-year period, with the potential to purchase more. As the first commercial-scale purchase of alternative jet fuels by a U.S. airline that incorporates biofuels into regular operations, this accomplishment represents a historic milestone for aviation.

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United Airline launches Sustainable Aviation Biofuel for Regular flights with B

A United Airlines eco-skies jet. United Airlines on Friday began sing commercial-scale volumes of sustainable aviation biofuel for regularly scheduled.

United Airlines is now using sustainable aviation biofuels on regular commercial flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco. This makes United one of the first U.S. airlines committed tocommercial-scale volumes of biofuel beyond demonstration and test flights. Stored and delivered in the same way as traditional aviation fuel, the bio-blend features 30% renewable jet fuel and 70% conventional jet kerosene.

United Airlines announced on Friday that it plans to power thousands of commercial flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco with biofuel created from farm waste like animal fats and oils.

Sustainable Aviation Biofuel

Sustainable Aviation Biofuel

While a handful of airlines have flown individual flights using a variety of types of biofuels, this is among the first times that an airline is committing to power a large number of commercial flights. If all goes well, a biofuel blend is supposed to be used for all of United’s jet fuel supply at Los Angeles International Airport.

United is using the biofuel from AltAir Fuels to replace 30% of its petroleum-based fuel for the L.A. flights over the next couple of weeks. This morning a flight took off from Los Angeles to San Francisco powered by the biofuel. Fulcrum Bioenergy isn’t supposed to produce its biofuel commercially for United until 2018.

AltAir’s Paramount, California-based refinery converts sustainable feedstocks, like non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes, into low-carbon, renewable jet fuel. This biofuel is price-competitive with traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel, but achieves a greater than 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions on a life cycle basis when compared to traditional jet fuel.

What are sustainable aviation biofuels?

The difference is in the source material, or feedstock. Whereas conventional jet fuel is derived from crude oil, sustainable aviation biofuels can be derived from sources like non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes. The AltAir facility converts this feedstock into sustainably produced jet fuel that is expected to provide a greater than 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to fuel produced from crude oil. The fuel will be blended at 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent traditional fuel, and will be certified to the same performance standard as traditional jet fuel (ASTM Standard D-1655). The Federal Aviation Administration has deemed this fuel as acceptable for use on aircraft, provided it meets ASTM specifications. AltAir is pursuing certification under the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) – a global sustainability standard and certification system that recognizes biomass and biofuel producers that adhere to strict social responsibility and environmental criteria.

Fulcrum BioEnergy system:

This biofuel is produced through an innovative, clean and efficient thermochemical process, and it has a greater than 80 percent reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions compared to conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum will reduce our carbon footprint, divert waste from landfills and create new jobs at the Fulcrum facilities located in the communities.

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From trash to take off

Instead of household waste going to a landfill, it will now be delivered to a Fulcrum facility and converted into sustanable aviation biofuel.

  1. Trash is collected and delivered to a Fulcrum facility…
  2. where it is processed and converted into sustainable aviation biofuel.
  3. The drop-in fuel meets United’s technical requirements.
  4. Fulcrum’s fuel is 80% less carbon intensive than traditional fuel on a life cycle basis.
  1. Clean
  2. Scalable
  3. Efficient
  4. Reliable
Total trash placed in U.S. landfills in one year
=
Energy equivalent of 10 billion gallons of oil (3 times United’s total annual fuel use)
The average American produces nearly 1 ton of garbage a year
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That’s 65 gallons of biofuels processed by Fulcrum
Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Footprint Management

Sustainable Development – Alternative Fuel “Biofuel”

Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Footprint Management

Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Footprint Management

Airbus 350 Carbon Fiber

Airbus 350 Carbon Fiber

United is the first U.S. airline to invest in a biofuel company. It is another in a series of firsts for the airline which, since 2009, has made significant investments in the advancement of sustainable aviation biofuels.

  • In 2009, United made history as the first North American carrier to perform a two-engine aircraft demonstration flight using sustainable biofuels.
  • In 2011, United operated the first U.S. passenger flight powered by advanced biofuels made from algae.
  • In 2012, United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuel Initiative (MASBI), a public/private partnership of experts from across the Midwest Region, to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels for aviation.
  • In 2013, United announced an agreement with AltAir Fuels for advanced aviation biofuels to be used on flights out of the airline’s Los Angeles hub, making it the first U.S. carrier to execute a commercial scale agreement for aviation biofuels. United expects to begin regularly scheduled flights using AltAir’s fuel later this year.
  • In 2015, United received the World Bio Markets (WBM) Award for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels.

United has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum and, subject to availability, will have the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years at a cost that is competitive with conventional jet fuel. This alternative fuel will be a drop-in fuel that meets all of the airline’s technical requirements and specifications, and will power the aircraft in the same way as conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum expects its first alternative fuels plant to begin commercial operation in 2017.

Fulcrum’s Waste-to-Biofuel Technology

Fulcrum’s technology converts household trash, known as municipal solid waste (MSW), into renewable jet fuel. Fulcrum’s renewable jet fuel is expected to provide a greater than 80 percent reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions when compared to conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum
has successfully developed and proven its technology to convert MSW into low-cost, low-carbon transportation fuels in an innovative, clean and efficient thermochemical process. MSW is an attractive biofuel feedstock as it is low cost, has limited volatility and a virtually unlimited supply. United’s agreement with Fulcrum is expected to decrease the airline’s carbon footprint through the use of sustainable aviation biofuel, while also diverting waste from landfills and creating new jobs in those communities where new Fulcrum facilities are sited. Fulcrum’s projects have also received support and participation from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy for the future production of fuel that meets military specifications.

“This partnership underscores United’s efforts to be a leader in alternative fuels as well as our efforts to lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company,” said United’s Managing Director for Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice. “From our carbon offset program to our fuel saving winglet technology, this investment in Fulcrum represents yet another example of our Eco-Skies commitment to a more sustainable future.”

 

United Airlines today announced an historic $30 million equity investment in U.S.-based alternative fuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., a pioneer in the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste into low-cost sustainable aviation biofuel. It is also the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels and sets United apart in the aviation industry in the advancement of aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reductions. In addition to the equity investment, United and Fulcrum have entered into an agreement that contemplates the joint development of up to five projects located near United’s hubs expected to have the potential to produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year.

 

Read more, visit united.com/ecoskies