Cathay Pacific’s environmental efforts have taken a major step forward after the airline invested in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a US-based biofuel developer.
The Hong Kong-based carrier will now work with Fulcrum in the development and commercialisation of its biofuel, which is made by converting solid waste into jet fuel. Cathay said the investment formed part of its goal to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020.
“We are well aware of the impact the aviation industry has on the environment and have been doing a great deal to minimise our own impact,” said Cathay’s chief executive, Ivan Chu.
“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.”
Cathay has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for an initial 375 million gallons (1.42 billion litres) of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years, or approximately 2% of the airline’s current fuel consumption.
Fulcrum plans to commence construction of its first commercial plant later this year, and to build large-scale biofuel plants at multiple locations, mainly in North America, including those in the Cathay Pacific network.
According to Fulcrum, its biofuel produces 80% less carbon emissions less than traditional jet fuels, despite having “the exact same molecules as fossil fuel”. It also reduces the amount of waste going into landfill sites, therefore cutting methane gas emissions.
“Cathay Pacific is really stepping up to help accelerate deliveries of this fuel to the market,” said Fulcrum BioEnergy’s president & CEO, Jim Macias. “This relationship adds to Fulcrum’s existing feedstock, technology and fuel off-take partners that enhance Fulcrum’s low-cost business model for the production and sale of large volumes of low-carbon, jetfuel.”
Under the guidance of IATA, the aviation industry is planning to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and cut its overall emissions in half by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.