Jet fuel from municipal solid waste

TechnologyDiagram-Fulcrum Bioenergy

1) Airlines account for 3% of the U.S.’s GHG emissions and 2% of the world’s GHG emissions. Airlines are increasingly under pressure to reduce carbon emissions, but the development of sustainable, affordable biofuels has been a challenge.

2) Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. has developed a proprietary thermochemical process that converts municipal solid waste, or MSW, feedstock into low-carbon renewable transportation fuels including jet fuel and diesel.

  • Fulcrum will extract commercially recyclable material and inorganic waste from the MSW, then send MSW feedstock to the Biorefinery.
  • Gasification of the MSW feedstock produces a synthesis gas (syngas) consisting primarily of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which is purified and processed through the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process to produce a syncrude product which is then upgraded to jet fuel.
  • The fuel will qualify as an “Advanced Biofuel”- independent analysis shows a net lifecycle reduction in CO2 emissions of over 80% vs. petroleum fuels.
  • United Airlines’ $30 million equity investment in Fulcrum is the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels.

3) Organizational stakeholders: United Airlines, other domestic and international airlines, governments who will support biofuels development, environmental groups

4) Steps to deploying the technology:

  • Focus on first phase with United – complete joint testing
  • Increase production to deliver 90 million gallons per year to United as agreed
  • Proceed with option for joint development of up to 5 projects near United’s hubs that could produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year

One thought on “Jet fuel from municipal solid waste

  1. The United Airlines investment in Fulcrum to hedge volatility in fossil fuel prices seems truly historic and a potential game changer for the biofuels industry and for Fulcrum, in particular, as it uses municipal solid waste as the feedstock for diesel and jet fuel. Very interesting business model.


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