Solena signs agreements with US and international airlines to supply jet biofuels in northern California
Solena's biofuels could be used at Oakland International Airport from 2015
Thu 30 June 2011 – Ten airlines have signed Letters of Intent (LOI) with Solena Fuels to negotiate the purchase of jet biofuels produced from urban and agricultural waste at a proposed northern California facility, dubbed ‘GreenSky California’. The agreement involves seven airline members of the Air Transport Association (ATA) and its development was led by American Airlines and United Continental. The other ATA members to the agreement are Alaska Airlines, FedEx, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and US Airways, along with associate member Air Canada and outsiders Frontier Airlines and Lufthansa. The facility is planning to produce sustainable jet biofuel to support airline operations at Oakland, San Francisco and/or San Jose airports from 2015.
The proposed facility will follow a similar ‘blueprint’ that Solena has established for other airline agreements with British Airways, Qantas and Alitalia of turning around 550,000 tonnes of waste that would otherwise go to a landfill into up to 16 million gallons of jet fuel per year, along with 14 million gallon equivalents of other energy products such as bionaphtha.
“We applaud the airlines’ pledge to use our lower-emissions fuel to support their northern California operations, and we look forward to partnering with them to develop a facility that allows them to more sustainably support their business,” commented Dr Robert Do, Solena Fuels’ Chairman and Chief Executive.
Commenting on the agreement, ATA CEO Nicholas Calio said: “This announcement reinforces the ongoing steps that ATA member airlines are taking to stimulate competition in jet fuel production, contribute to the creation of green jobs and promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate global and local environmental benefits.”
ATA SVP Communications Jean Medina told GreenAir that under the LOI the airlines have undertaken a commitment to purchase fuel from Solena. “As part of the agreement, the fuel is to be competitively priced with jet fuel,” added. “The next step is for the airlines to reach a detailed fuel supply agreement with Solena. We expect those agreements will be in place well before the plant begins producing fuel at the end of 2014. Solena has acquired the land for the facility, which is still to be built.”
Each Solena facility costs around $280 million to build so the company is now looking for over $1 billion to finance the four jet fuel plants. The first of the plants, the east London GreenSky project in association with British Airways, is due to start production in 2014, although details of the proposed site have yet to be confirmed.
In December 2009, a group of 15 airlines led by the ATA signed similar offtake agreements with AltAir Fuels and Rentech for future supplies of alternative jet fuels (see article). The AltAir agreement concerned the future purchase of 750 million gallons of jet fuel derived from camelina to be supplied for airline operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with production originally anticipated to start in 2012.