Seattle, Washington based low carbon sustainable fuel and chemicals specialist, AltAir Fuels has received a definitive purchase agreement from United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) for cost-competitive, advanced biofuels which are to be produced from agricultural wastes and non-edible natural oils at a retooled refinery in California.
According to the airline, as part of its strategic partnership AltAir Fuels will retrofit part an existing petroleum refinery to become a 30 million gallon (1.14 million litre), advanced biofuel refinery near Los Angeles.
United added that it has collaborated with AltAir Fuels since 2009 and has agreed to buy 15 million gallons (57 million litres) of lower-carbon, renewable jet fuel over a three-year period, with the option to purchase more.
Beginning in 2014 AltAir is expected to begin delivering five million gallons (19 million litres) of renewable jet fuel each year to United, which will use it on flights operating out of its Los Angeles hub (LAX).
The airline said that it is purchasing the advanced biofuel at a price competitive with traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel.
AltAir has partnered with an existing oil refiner for the operation of its first commercial facility and will use the refiner’s existing refinery near Los Angeles.
According to United, thanks to its partnership with AltAir idle refining equipment will be retooled using process technology developed by refining technology supplier and licensor, Honeywell’s UOP.
AltAir has previously worked with Honeywell’s UOP to demonstrate the commercial viability of the Honeywell Green Jet process, which it has licensed.
According to Honeywell UOP its Green Jet process was developed under a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, now the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency-Energy, and is a feedstock flexible solution that converts a wide range of sustainable feedstocks li into high-quality, on-spec renewable jet fuel.
The process is based on traditional refining hydroprocessing technology, and works by adding hydrogen to remove the oxygen from the feedstock and then further refining the product to meet the required specifications.
The process produces a bio-synthetic paraffinic kerosene (bio-SPK) or Green Jet Fuel that is then blended with standard jet fuel for use in flight. The resulting fuel meets all of the jet fuel specifications set by qualifying agencies.
According to United Airlines, once operational the facility will be the first refinery in the world capable of the in-line production of both renewable jet and diesel fuels.
Source: Waste Management World