Cathay Pacific Airways announced today that it is the first airline investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., a US-based sustainable biofuel developer, as part of the airline’s biofuel strategy and to help it achieve a target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. The airline has made a strategic equity investment in Fulcrum, which is a world pioneer in the development and commercialisation of converting municipal solid waste into sustainable aviation fuel or ‘biojet fuel’.
Cathay Pacific has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for an initial 375 million US gallons (1.4 billion litres) of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years (representing on an annual basis approximately two per cent of the airline’s current fuel consumption) that meets all the airline’s technical requirements and specifications.
Fulcrum plans to commence construction of its first commercial plant later this year and to build large scale, waste-to-renewable jet fuel plants at multiple locations, including locations strategic to the Cathay Pacific network, primarily in North America.
Cathay Pacific biofuel manager Jeff Ovens said: “Fulcrum has successfully demonstrated a process of converting municipal solid waste feedstock into sustainable aviation fuel at its scale demonstration facility. The feedstock will be pre-sorted to remove any recyclables prior to being processed into fuels. The company has proved that its technology is viable and has supply commitments in place for feedstock needed for the fuel production. These supply commitments will cover both near-term and future developments.”
According to Fulcrum president and CEO Jim Macias, the jet fuel – that has the exact same molecules as fossil fuel but is cleaner, lower in carbon, renewable and lower cost than traditional fossil fuels – produced by Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuels process will reduce lifecycle carbon emissions when used in aircraft or road transport by more than 80 per cent when compared to traditional fuels derived from crude oil and other fossil sources. This process also reduces the amount of municipal solid waste going into landfill sites and the methane gas emissions that result from this. If not captured, methane gas is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming contributor.