Alitalia signs biofuel pact with Solena

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Alitalia has signed an agreement with US bioenergy group Solena to look into converting biomass from municipal waste into biofuel to power part of its fleet of aircraft.

The Italian carrier has signed a letter of intent with Solena to begin a feasibility study examining the possibility of building a plant to convert household waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill into a gas. The gas will then be turned into liquid biofuel through the Fischer-Tropsch process.

No site has yet been identified for the proposed plant. A spokeswoman for Solena Italia says that discussions are taking place with national and local authorities over where to locate the facility.

"The identification of the amount of convertible biomass, the quantity of jet fuel deliverable, price and delivery period are the scope of the study," adds the spokeswoman.

British Airways last year signed a similar agreement with Solena, under which the airline agreed to purchase all of the fuel produced by Solena's planned GreenSky conversion facility in east London to use on part of its fleet from 2014.