Fly the (environmentally) friendly skies: United to commence wide-scale aviation biofuels flights in 2014

June 5, 2013 |


Although the partners did not specifically reveal the feedstock mix, AltAir has been closely associated with the development of camelina-based aviation fuels. Also, in July 2011, the USDA announced that Project Area 8 of its Biomass Crop Assistance program would support the establishment of up to 25,000 acres of camelina in 17 California counties, specifically mentioning support of ALtAir’s commercial projects.”


“Producers in Project Area 8 are eligible to receive annual payments to grow the annual crop camelina for energy purposes, the USDA project outlined. “To support camelina producers in the project area, FSA will enter into five-year contracts with producers to grow the annual crop each year on cropland enrolled in BCAP contracts. As a condition of enrollment, producers must provide evidence that they have a camelina production agreement with a third party biomass conversion facility…Camelina growers will be allowed to sell their harvested biomass to the Project Sponsor — Altair Fuels LLC, or any other biomass conversion facility they choose. Generally, land on which wheat had been previously grown is expected to be enrolled and dedicated to new camelina production.”

“Per acre annual rental payments for cropland enrolled under these contracts will be based on posted Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) non-irrigated cropland rental rates plus an additional 50 percent incentive. Per acre annual rental payments for non-cropped agricultural land will be based on the lowest posted CRP marginal pasture rental rate plus an additional 50 percent incentive. BCAP contracts will be five years in length with all payments obligated from the fiscal year 2011 allocations. The estimated total annual rental payment allocation amount is $20 million which is intended to fund obligations for the 50,000 acres for the full five years.

The USDA’s outline of the BCAP Project Area 8 program is here.

Read more: United Airlines and Sustainable Aviation Biofuels and background on AltAir — including a complete list of landmark demonstration flights for Honeywell’s UOP Green Jet –  and reaction from United Airlines and AltAir – via the page links below.

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