Farm Waste To Power United Airlines’ Planes

A major airline is lowering its carbon footprint, beginning with flights to San Francisco from Los Angeles.

by Dani Yokhna

Farm Waste to Power United Airlines’ Planes (
United Airlines/Facebook


United Airlines is set to be the first airline to fly passengers using alternative jet fuel, Fast Company reports. The alternative fuel will in part consist of agricultural waste. Non-edible oils will also make up the fuel.

“We believe that one of our greatest opportunities to reduce the aviation industry’s environmental footprint is through sustainable alternative fuels,” United’s Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Managing Director, Angela Foster-Rice, told Fast Company.

Back in 2009, United flew the first U.S. biofuel test flight. The fuel for that test flight was made up of algae. At that time the airline signed with AltAir Fuels in an effort to reduce pollution; however, until now there has not been enough biofuels to fuel regular flights. To scale up, United Airlines has put a 3-year plan in place that involves the airline purchasing “15 million gallons of farm waste biofuel from AltAir. This summer, they also invested $30 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a startup that turns household trash into jet fuel,” according to Fast Company.

Flights are unable to run 100 percent on biofuel due to the regulations that are currently in place, but it’s a step in the right direction. Passengers flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco on United Airlines will reduce their carbon footprint. The airline hopes to offer more biofueled-flights in the future.

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