Group of 14 airlines signs preliminary biofuel deal

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009

SEATTLE - Moving to cut dependence on petroleum for jet fuel, 14 airlines, including Alaska, have signed an agreement for the potential purchase of plant-based fuel from a Seattle company that plans to build a production facility in Anacortes, Wash.

AltAir Fuels, a Seattle startup, said Tuesday it has entered into agreements with the airlines to negotiate the purchase of jet fuel and diesel derived from the camelina plant, a weed related to mustard that produces seeds with a high oil content.

Led by the Air Transport Association, an industry trade group, the airlines participating in the deal are American Airlines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways.

Duncan Mitchell, AltAir Fuels' chief operating officer, said the company aims to build a new facility within the existing Tesoro refinery in Anacortes and begin operating in 2012. He said the company expects Tesoro to become an investor in AltAir.

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