9 Fly with Gevo’s Jet Fuel from O’Hare on “Fly Green Day” 

November 8, 2017 |

In Illinois, today is Fly Green Day, sponsored by the O’Hare Fuel Committee, at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. 7 commercial airlines, plus Atlas Air and FedEx are flying out of O’Hare today on Gevo-based sustainable aviation fuel.

Among them: Lufthansa, United Airlines, Etihad, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Atlas Air — and the afore-mentioned FedEx.

As far as ‘Fly Green Day’ goes, Fans of the punk band Green Day are probably going to be wandering around the airport hoping to catch a glimpse of Billie Joe Armstrong —they’ll be disappointed in that, but there’s a special reason to like this day. It’s not just a PR stunt.

As we mentioned, it’s Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel, derived from renewable isobutanol, that’s being used today. But there’s more.

You see, to date airlines and airports have generally relied on alternative means of supplying renewable jet fuel to the wing, usually trucking jet fuel on site for blending and fueling. For today’s Fly Green Day, Air BP blended Gevo’s ATJ with regular fossil-based Jet A fuel, certified its quality and then supplied its customers through the airport’s main fuel hydrant system.

So, this event is the first time renewable jet fuel has been supplied at Chicago O’Hare using the existing airport fueling infrastructure, such as pipelines, terminals and tankage.

In some ways, it is reminiscent of the time that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus remarked to a large crowd of media and dignitaries, as the Navy’s first Green Strike Group left San Diego on patrol, that it was the most attention he had ever seen given to something completely normal.

The New Normal, that is — at that time, the new normal os cost-competitive marine biofuels. Today, the new normal is supplying sustainable aviation fuels through the same-old, same-old system that conventional fuel uses. It’s remarkable — and in a few years, it will be not worth a mention. But making extraordinary into ordinary — that’s something that aviation has been doing since the Wright Brothers gave way to the likes of United and Lufthansa.

The Gevo aviation fuel backstory

We covered it from several angles of late.

Sierra Hotel: Los Alamos, Gevo to develop ultra long-range missile, aviation fuels

Gevo teams with Virgin Australia on alcohol-to-jet deal

Gevo’s first ATJ flight held Monday between Seattle and DC

Gevo, Lufthansa rock markets with renewable jet fuel deal 

Gevo’s aviation fuel: The Multi-Slide Guide

Renewable jet fuel’s progress: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Gevo’s ATJ

Reaction from the stakeholders

“This is the first time we have supplied our customers with biojet produced from alcohol and demonstrates how we are working with multiple suppliers to build a leadership position in this area,” said Air BP’s Chief Executive Officer Jon Platt. “We anticipate that through this promotion we will inspire more of our customers to use lower carbon fuels.”

“We are excited to be a part of this project. This is the next stage in development of our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move forward with the full commercial deployment of renewable jet fuel,” said Thorsten Luft, Vice President Corporate Fuel for Lufthansa AG.

“This is a significant milestone as we continue to develop our ATJ platform. We fundamentally believe that our ATJ is one of the most cost competitive bio-based jet alternatives in the market place. Leveraging existing supply infrastructure should lower the full cost to serve our end customers. Jet fuel is one of Gevo’s core market segments and this represents the next step in building a profitable business from this market vertical,” said Gevo CEO Dr. Patrick Gruber.

The Bottom Line

We’ll give the last word to Green Day:

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life



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