Big day for sustainable alternative fuel

What’s that saying about waiting forever for a bus, then two come along at the same time? Well, that’s pretty much what has happened in the last few weeks in the world of sustainable alternative jet fuel.

Coming only six weeks after Oslo Airport announced that biojet fuel would be made available to all airlines departing the Norwegian hub, North America is getting in on the act. United Airlines, in partnership with AltAir and Honeywell UOP, have today announced that they will now be regularly flying out of Los Angeles Airport using a blend of sustainable alternative fuel.

For those of you who follow this website regularly, you may remember that this project was one of our Aviation Climate Solutions. Now we are pleased to report that the first flight of a United Airlines aircraft has just departed Los Angeles, powered by the new fuel. The AltAir fuel is made using agricultural waste and non-edible natural oils, making it a low-carbon, sustainable fuel  which is roughly 60% less carbon intensive over the lifecycle of the fuel.

This first flight today is the culmination of over six years of collaboration between the producer and the airline. Over the next three years, United has committed to buying up to 15 million gallons, with the option to buy more firmly on the table.

And this is not the only investment in sustainable alternative fuel made by United. Not only were they the first North American airline to operate the first passenger flight using algae-based biofuel, but they have also committed to a  $30 million equity investment in another US-based alternative fuels developer, Fulcrum BioEnergy. Fulcrum’s fuel is made using run-of-the-mill household waste, meaning that United is helping kill two birds with one stone – enabling more sustainable flights and providing a solution to the problem of waste management.

You certainly can’t fault United’s commitment to sustainable aviation!