Rentech fuel passes validation flight

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Published: May 4,2010

Tags: airlines, biofuel, clean energy, energy

ADAMS COUNTY — Rentech Inc. announced that a successful engineering validation flight was conducted by United Airlines using Rentech’s certified synthetic jet fuel (RenJet).

The flight marks the first time a U.S. commercial airline has used synthetic jet fuel in flight and underscores Rentech’s leadership role in a lower carbon future with the use of domestic technology and resources to fuel the nation’s transportation needs, according to the company.

In Dec. 2009, United, along with 12 other domestic and international passenger and cargo carriers, signed a memorandum of understanding that is intended to serve as a framework for a future definitive supply agreement for approximately 250 million gallons per year of certified synthetic jet fuel from Rentech’s proposed synthetic fuels and power facility in Adams County (Natchez Project).

The synthetic jet fuel used in the engineering validation flight was produced at Rentech’s Product Demonstration Unit, which is believed to be the only operating integrated synthetic transportation fuels facility in the U.S. RenJet, produced from renewable or fossil feedstocks, is the first and only alternative fuel type certified for use by commercial aviation. Rentech’s synthetic jet fuel can be distributed and used in existing infrastructure including pipelines and engines and are cleaner burning than traditional petroleum-derived jet fuel.

D. Hunt Ramsbottom, president and CEO of Rentech, said, “This flight, along with the customer agreements we are pursuing with the airlines, validates the considerable market demand for synthetic fuels produced by the Rentech Process.

“This flight confirms our assumptions about how this fuel performs on a commercial aircraft in a variety of situations and represents the next step in our effort to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate environmental benefits and contribute to the creation of green jobs,” said Joseph Kolshak, United Airlines senior vice president of operations.

In Aug. 2009, United was among eight airlines who signed a multi-year agreement with Rentech for up to 1.5 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic diesel (RenDiesel) for ground service equipment operations at Los Angeles International Airport beginning in late 2012, when Rentech’s Rialto Renewable Energy Center is scheduled to go into service.

Earlier this year, Rentech and ClearFuels Technology jointly received a $22.6-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to construct a biomass gasifier at Rentech’s Energy Technology Center in Denver. The gasifier will be integrated with Rentech’s Product Demonstration Unit for the production of renewable synthetic fuels from biomass in late 2011.

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