Cathay Pacific Airways makes strategic equity investment in Fulcrum BioEnergy; MSW to biojet; 375M gallon supply agreement
Cathay Pacific Airways has made a strategic equity investment in Fulcrum BioEnergy—a pioneer in the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste (MSW) into sustainable aviation fuel (earlier post)—as part of the airline’s biofuel strategy and to help it achieve a target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. Cathay Pacific, which also has an option for further investment, is the first airline investor in the sustainable biofuel developer.
Cathay Pacific has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for an initial 375 million gallons US of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years (representing on an annual basis approximately 2% of the airline’s current fuel consumption) that meets all the airline’s technical requirements and specifications.
We are pleased to have identified Fulcrum as a strategic business partner that has the necessary vision and technological know-how to help Cathay Pacific pursue the use of biojet fuels. These fuels are an important component of our sustainable development strategy, under which we aim to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.—Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu
Fulcrum’s two-stage MSW-to-jet or -diesel process starts with syngas generated by gasification of MSW, and uses a Fischer-Tropsch process to produce jet fuel and/or diesel fuel. Fulcrum also has developed a two-stage thermochemical process involving the gasification of municipal solid waste (MSW) followed by the catalytic conversion of the syngas to ethanol.
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.
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.—Cathay Pacific Biofuel Manager Jeff Ovens
According to Fulcrum President and CEO Jim Macias, jet fuel produced by Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuels process will reduce lifecycle carbon emissions when used in aircraft or road transport by more than 80% 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.
Cathay Pacific Airways is a Hong Kong-based airline offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to 188 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa, using a fleet of more than 140 wide-body aircraft.