Private Sector Biofuels Development Show Promise; Enough to Extinguish EU’s ETS?

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ARTICLE: United Airlines and AltAir Fuels to Bring Commercial-Scale, Cost-Competitive Biofuels to Aviation Industry


The EU, ICAO and the world’s civil aviation authorities have made it clear that the aviation business must reduce their carbon footprint, preferably by utilizing renewable resources. The Obama Administration has supported the development of alternative sources at commercial prices. KLM and Boeing reported that their joint efforts had resulted in the target chemistry and were working to get the price to a reasonable number.

This Bloomberg piece announces good news. United and AltAir have agreed that the airline will buy cost-competitive, sustainable, advanced biofuels at commercial scale from the Seattle based company, AltAir. The fuel United will be purchasing will be made through process technology developed by Honeywell UOP. The transaction is an historic milestone for aviation.

AltAir Fuels is dedicated to the development of low carbon fuel products derived from sustainable feedstocks. The two companies have been working cooperatively to create an alternative which functions as fuel, is green and is renewable. The end result is a facility in the Los Angeles area which will produce renewable jet and diesel fuel as well as other green intermediate chemicals.

United pledged to develop drop-in biofuels that achieve important sustainability standards, to attain biofuel certification standards and to work towards commercial prices for aviation biofuels. This transaction with AltAir appears to have met all the terms of that pledge.

Hopefully this and other private initiatives will meet or exceed the global green goals without the use of the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme, which appears to add costs/taxes without concomitant environmental benefits

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1 Comment on "Private Sector Biofuels Development Show Promise; Enough to Extinguish EU’s ETS?"

  1. Sandy Murdock | June 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Reply

    from A4A’s Smart Brief
    ◾U.S. airline industry supports global approach to emissions reductions
    Last week, the airline industry announced a resolution that represents a historic commitment by the world’s airlines to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 in partnership with the governments. United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said the carrier is working with the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization toward a global solution to carbon emissions in response to a request from a group of United Airlines’ frequent fliers. “The entire industry got together to say that we supported a global approach rather than a regional approach,” she said. Airlines for America echoed that statement, adding the following: “The U.S. aviation industry has an exceptional environmental track record, and remains committed to further advancing their environmental stewardship. United’s announcement with AltAir Fuels last week is yet another example of this industrywide commitment, as the renewable jet fuel is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent on a life cycle basis. The U.S. aviation industry could accomplish even more with NextGen, which is why we need realize the near-term benefits of it now. The airlines are ready and have already made significant investments that we want to see put to use for our customers, which has not been done to date.” Reuters (6/10), TravelPulse (6/11)

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