LAX ground service equipment to run on renewables

By | July 15, 2009
Posted August 18, 2009

The Air Transport Association of America Inc. (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced today that eight of its member airlines have signed an unprecedented agreement with Rentech Inc. and Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG) to purchase up to 1.5 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic diesel fuel (RenDiesel) for use in ground service equipment at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning in late 2012, when Rentech's plant to produce the fuel is scheduled to go into service.

The initial airline purchasers of RenDiesel are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways, with the potential for adding other airline partners.

"We are proud to take part in this innovative, collective endeavor that over time, will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality through the use of greener fuels," said Glenn Tilton, ATA board chairman and UAL Corporation chairman, president and CEO. "This transaction promises to be the first of many such green fuel purchase agreements by the commercial aviation industry. It exemplifies the ongoing commitment of airlines and energy suppliers to diversify our fuel sources while contributing to a cleaner environment and adding new jobs to the economy."

The renewable RenDiesel will be produced at the commercial-scale facility that Rentech is developing in Rialto, Calif., primarily from urban woody green waste such as yard clippings. The fuel is expected to have a low carbon footprint and minimal particulate and other emissions while meeting or exceeding all applicable fuel standards. ASIG, which provides fueling services to many airlines that operate at LAX, will handle receipt and dispensing of the RenDiesel. Other discussions regarding potential alternative fuels agreements are continuing through the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, of which ATA is a founding member.

"This commercial purchase contract among Rentech, ASIG and the airlines validates the growing demand for synthetic fuels produced by the Rentech Process," said D. Hunt Ramsbottom, Rentech president and chief executive officer. "The low-emissions profile and near-zero carbon footprint of our renewable RenDiesel will guarantee that the LAX ground service vehicles using this fuel will be among the cleanest and greenest of their kind."

Ramsbottom added, "We expect this agreement to serve as a model for future supply relationships at other airports and for other fuels, including Rentech's synthetic jet fuel, which was recently approved for commercial airline use."

"ASIG is thrilled to have been instrumental in reaching this landmark deal with the airlines and Rentech, reinforcing our strong commitment to our airline customers and environmental stewardship," said ASIG President Keith P. Ryan. "We are proud to be on the forefront of this innovative effort to advance aviation environmental progress."

"This collaborative effort is yet another environmentally friendly initiative that we and the airlines are pursuing at Los Angeles-area airports. It shows what we can accomplish by working together toward a common and necessary goal," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.

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