Synthetic diesel to power ground equipment in Los Angeles

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Eight airlines have inked a deal with synthetic fuel producer Rentech and fuelling firm Aircraft Service International Group to purchase up to 1.5 million USgal (5.7 million litres) of renewable synthetic diesel fuel per year to power ground service equipment at Los Angeles International airport starting in 2012.

The parties say the ongoing supply agreement is the first of its kind. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS and US Airways will use the fuel, which will primarily be developed from urban woody waste such as yard clippings.

The fuel is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality, United CEO Glenn Tilton says in a statement. He adds, "This transaction promises to be the first of many such green fuel purchase agreements by the commercial aviation industry."

Rentech says its biodegradable fuel exceeds applicable fuel standards and is compatible with existing engines and pipelines.

The company will begin production of RenDiesel in late 2012 when its plant in Rialto, California, is scheduled to launch production. The facility is currently designed to produce roughly 600 barrels per day of renewable synthetic fuels.

Aircraft Service International Group will handle receipt and dispensing of the fuel at the airport.