Continental Airlines has flown its first commercial flight using bio-fuel. The Boeing 737-800, left Houston’s Bush Intercontinental at 10:30 am local time on Monday for Chicago O’Hare using a blend of bio-fuel and traditional petroleum-derived jet fuel.
“Sustainable bio-fuels, produced on a large scale at an economically viable price, can one day play a meaningful role in powering everyone’s trip on an airline,” said Pete McDonald, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer.
The fuel is based on an algae oil developed by Solazyme, working with Honeywell’s UOP process technology. Solazyme, headquartered in south San Francisco, manufactures the algae oil through a proprietary fermentation process. The end product is then refined outside Houston using renewable jet fuel processing technology from Honeywell’s UOP.
The airline’s parent group, United Continental Holdings, has signed a letter of intent with Solazyme to negotiate the purchase of 20 million gallons of jet fuel per year, derived exclusively from algae oil, for delivery as early as 2014.