Household trash will power airliners

United Airlines will make a pretty significant announcement today. It will announce the first investment by a domestic airline in a company that will provide alternative fuel.

Fulcrum, a California-based company, turns household trash into jet fuel.

Officials tell the New York Times today an airline can cut its carbon emission by 80 percent.

United’s deal is the airline’s second major push toward alternative fuels. In 2013, the airline agreed to buy 15 million gallons of biofuels over three years from a California-based producer called AltAir Fuels, which makes biofuels out of nonedible natural oils and agricultural waste. United expects that the first five million gallons from AltAir will be delivered this summer at its Los Angeles International Airport hub to help power the flights to San Francisco.

For the first two weeks, four to five flights a day will carry a fuel mixture that is 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent traditional jet fuel; after that, the fuel will be blended into the overall supply, United said.

“The AltAir project serves as a catalyst intended to pave the way for the industry,” Ms. Foster-Rice said. By burning biofuel products like farm waste that have already absorbed carbon during their lifetime, jet engines avoid introducing into the atmosphere new carbon from a fossil fuel that has been locked away, underground, for millions of years.

Jets cause about 2 percent of global carbon emissions and are one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution.

Later this summer, the first United jet using the alternative fuel will fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

  • It’s awesome they are promoting this in the same year that Doc Brown went to the future and had a modification added to the Delorean so the requisite 1.21 gigawatts for time travel could be generated from household trash? I believe it was called the Mr. Fusion…

  • MrE85

    Closer to home, the Gevo plant in Luverne, MN has been making drop-in aviation fuels for some time. .

  • Jeff

    I’d gladly exchange a bag of trash for waived luggage fees or an upgrade.

    • Mike Worcester

      Or a couple more inches of leg room for my 76″ frame.