A group of 15 airlines has signed groundbreaking memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with two different U.S. producers ― AltAir Fuels LLC and Rentech, Inc....

A group of 15 airlines has signed groundbreaking memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with two different U.S. producers ― AltAir Fuels LLC and Rentech, Inc. ― for a future supply of alternative aviation fuel.

Altogether, 12 airlines from the United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico ― Air Canada, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways ― have signed MOUs with both producers.


In addition, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines has signed an MOU with AltAir Fuels, and Orlando-based AirTran Airways has signed an MOU with Rentech.

These alternative fuels will be more environmentally friendly, on a life cycle basis, than today’s jet fuels. Production of the fuels will create jobs in the United States and bolster U.S. energy independence, according to the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the trade association that represents most leading U.S. airlines.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the proactive steps that airlines are taking to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, contribute to the creation of green jobs, and promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate environmental benefits,” says Glenn Tilton, ATA board chairman and UAL Corporation and United Airlines chairman, president and CEO. Tilton also noted that discussions with a number of additional alternative-fuel producers about other projects are underway, as are discussions with the U.S. military regarding other cooperative opportunities.

Camelina sativa, otherwise known as false flax, wild flax, gold-of-pleasure or Siberian Oilseed, is a flowering plant that is a relative of mustrad, the cabbage and rapseed. It requires little water or nitrogen, does not compete with food crops and probably will form the feedstock for the alternative jet fuel that AltAir Fuels will make for 14 airlines at its plant in Washington state

Camelina sativa, otherwise known as false flax, wild flax, gold-of-pleasure or Siberian oilseed, is a flowering plant that is a relative of mustard, the cabbage and rapeseed. It requires little water or nitrogen, does not compete with food crops and probably will form the feedstock for the alternative jet fuel that AltAir Fuels will make for 14 airlines at its plant in Washington state

“Our intention as an airline industry is to continue to do our part by supporting the use of alternative fuels. We urge the U.S. government and the investment community also to do their part to further support this critical energy opportunity,” says Tilton.

“Today’s announcements reaffirm the airlines’ commitment to a greener, more stable and secure energy future, reinforcing the spirit of innovation and openness that is the essence of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative,” says Randy Babbitt, the  Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The airlines’ pledge to use renewable jet fuel sends a clear and unmistakable message to policymakers, investors and industry leaders that AltAir Fuels has entered a new era of more sustainable aviation,” says Tom Todaro, AltAir Fuels’ founder and CEO.

“This agreement is a significant step forward, establishing a framework for a large group of diverse carriers to negotiate a definitive fuel purchase agreement,” says D. Hunt Ramsbottom, Rentech’s president and CEO.

The AltAir Fuels project contemplates the production of approximately 75 million gallons per year of jet fuel and diesel fuel derived from camelina oils or comparable feedstock, refined at a new AltAir Fuels plant to be located at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington.

The Rentech project in Adams County, Mississippi, contemplates the production of approximately 250 million gallons per year of synthetic jet fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke, with the resultant carbon dioxide sequestered and the carbon footprint potentially further reduced by integrating biomass as a feedstock.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 per cent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional industry information, visit www.airlines.org.