Fuels and chemicals

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Recent news and developments from the waste conversion industry.

April 7, 2016

United Airlines flies the environmentally friendly skies

Chicago-based United Airlines made history March 11 by becoming the first U.S. airline to begin use of commercial-scale volumes of sustainable aviation biofuel for regularly scheduled flights with the departure of United Flight 708 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the company announced. The launch marks a significant milestone in the commercial aviation industry by moving beyond demonstration flights and test programs to the use of advanced biofuels for United’s ongoing operations, adds the company.

United has agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable biofuel from AltAir Paramount, Paramount, California, over a three-year period. The airline has begun using the biofuel in its daily operations at LAX, storing and delivering it in the same way as traditional fuel. To highlight this achievement, United will operate flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco with the dedicated use of AltAir Paramount renewable fuel for two weeks, while also integrating this fuel into its regular operations at the airport.

United has collaborated with AltAir since 2009 with a common goal of bringing an ongoing source of sustainable aviation biofuels to an airport. AltAir retrofitted portions of the Paramount Petroleum Corp. refinery in Paramount, California, to create a 35-million-gallon-per-year advanced renewable fuel unit, bringing new clean energy jobs to the Los Angeles area.

The facility converts sustainably sourced non-edible, natural oils and agricultural wastes into jet fuel and is expected to provide a greater than 60 percent reduction in life cycle carbon emissions when compared to fuel produced from traditional petroleum. AltAir’s fuel meets the same standard as traditional jet fuel, ASTM D1655. In addition, AltAir is pursuing certification under the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) - a global sustainability standard and certification system that recognizes biomass and biofuel producers that adhere to stringent social responsibility and environmental criteria. In 2009, United says it became the first U.S. carrier to perform a biofuel demonstration flight and became the first U.S. carrier to operate a commercial advanced biofuel flight in 2011.

UPS invests $100 million in compressed natural gas

UPS, Atlanta, announced plans to build an additional 12 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add 380 new CNG tractors to its growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.

The CNG fueling stations and vehicle purchases totaling $100 million are part of UPS’s ongoing commitment to diversify its fuel sources and reduce its environmental impact, it says.

“At UPS, we own our fleet and our infrastructure. That allows us to invest for the long-term, rather than planning around near-term fluctuations in fuel pricing,” says Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability.

“CNG is part of a broad investment in a variety of alternative fuel vehicles. Taken together, all of our alternative fuel vehicles represent 6 percent of the more than 100,000 UPS global fleet, and have driven a 10 percent annual reduction in use of conventional fuel.”

UPS is working to meet its goal of logging one billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017, using a rolling laboratory approach to determine the right alternative fuel solutions to meet the unique needs of route-specific driving environments.

The 12 new CNG stations will be built by TruStar Energy in Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga, Tennessee.; Columbia, South Carolina.; El Paso, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Kansas; Phoenix; Reno, Nevada; San Antonio, Texas; Tifton, Georgia; Trinidad, Colorado; and Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

The new CNG tractors to be deployed in these cities will be manufactured by Kenworth.

Agility, Santa Ana, California, and Quantum Fuel Systems, Lake Forest, California, will provide the CNG storage systems.

This investment builds on the company’s existing 18 CNG fueling stations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia and operates CNG vehicles in Germany, the Netherlands and Thailand.

UPS operates one of the largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets in the U.S. Its fleet includes more than 6,840 all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, liquified natural gas (LNG), propane and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.