A group of 10 airlines has teamed up to sign letters of intent with US bioenergy firm Solena to purchase alternative jet fuel derived from waste biomass from 2015.

The group, which is led by American Airlines and United Airlines, also includes Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, FedEx, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines and US Airways.

Under the agreement, Solena's GreenSky California biomass-to-liquids facility will supply the airlines with 1,000 barrels a day of jet fuel derived from urban and agricultural waste, said United Airlines managing director strategic sourcing-fuel Robert Sturtz.

The fuel will be divided among the airlines as a "proportional split based on the size of the carrier", and will be burned as a 50/50 blend with traditional kerosene, said Sturtz. It will be taken by truck from Solena's plant in northern California - which will be built in 2013 - to airports in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, where the aircraft will be fuelled.

"This is an intent to purchase which will eventually become individual fuel supply agreements between each individual airline and Solena," said Sturtz, adding that the deal will be finalised "over the next year".

The Solena plant will produce up to 16 million gal of neat jet fuel a year by 2015, converting about 550,000 metric tons of waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill into fuel through the Fischer-Tropsch process.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news