Clean Technology and Aviation Leaders Launch Sustainable Biofuels Initiative

Chicago: United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell's UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust announced the formation of the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), designed to advance aviation biofuel development in a 12-state region holding significant promise for biomass feedstock, technology development, job creation and sustainable commercialization.

MASBI will deliver a comprehensive evaluation of the region's biofuel potential and a plan to support regional and national needs in a responsible manner. MASBI's Advisory Council will include national leaders in advanced biofuels, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Navy, other Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions.

"In just a few short years, aviation biofuels have developed from a hopeful vision of the future to an exciting reality of more than 1,500 passenger flights flown with advanced biofuels," said Jimmy Samartzis, managing director of Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for United. "Our industry is committed to advancing sustainable biofuels, and United is proud to launch MASBI with our partners to define appropriate solutions to make alternative fuel available at commercial scale, unlock the Midwest's economic potential for advanced biofuels and secure a sustainable future for aviation."

With the Midwest's strong agricultural, financial and academic institutions, and large aviation industry presence, MASBI Steering Committee members view the region as critical for biofuel development. Airlines operating in the Midwest transport more than 234 million passengers and consume nearly three billion gallons of jet fuel annually.

"Aviation's ability to connect the world to people, goods and services through the heartland of the country contributes significantly to the nation's economy and job growth," said Billy Glover, vice president of Environment and Aviation Policy for Boeing. "Biofuels are a critical part of commercial aviation's long-term fuel-diversification strategy, enabling sustainable growth and improving its overall environmental performance."

Organization stakeholders are developing a feasibility study and an action plan to advance the biofuels industry in the Midwest.

"Initially, MASBI will evaluate Midwest feedstock options, commercialization requirements and opportunities, logistics and infrastructure needs, and regional policy measures," said James Rekoske, vice president and general manager for Renewable Energy and Chemicals at Honeywell's UOP. "After this actionable roadmap is developed, the goal is for MASBI participants across the biofuel value chain to execute recommendations that will enable the development and commercialization of aviation biofuels."

MASBI invites a diverse set of stakeholders, including airlines, fuel producers, feedstock growers, logistics providers and investors to add their knowledge and expertise to the effort.

"The Midwest is ready to lead the nation in developing and using advanced aviation biofuels," said Rosemarie S. Andolino, commissioner of Chicago Department of Aviation. "Our region has significant feedstock availability and viability; clean technology leaders; an active funding community of large banks, venture capital and private equity investors; airports that are already committed to sustainable practices and support the greater use of biofuels in aviation; policymakers who advance biofuels as a priority; and end-users committed to action."

MASBI Steering Committee members believe their efforts in promoting sustainable fuel supplies ultimately will spur economic growth, create jobs and promote energy security.

"When you consider the U.S. aviation industry uses more than 20 billion gallons of fuel each year, the environmental and economic potential of commercializing biofuels technology becomes truly game-changing," said Amy Francetic, executive director of Clean Energy Trust. "Positioning the Midwest as the global aviation biofuels leader means long-term economic development and large-scale creation of permanent jobs in the region."

Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management and strategy consulting, is providing program management for MASBI. Sustainability requirements and evaluation will occur throughout every aspect of the initiative.

Source: United Continental Holdings, Inc.