The travel community seems to be looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. Destinations are outlawing straws, hotels are recycling soaps, and some cruise ships are working to power their boats with dead fish.
It seems United Airlines is looking for ways to be more environmentally-friendly, too, as they may soon power their jets with biofuel made from trash.
Fulcrum BioEnergy announced plans for a new plant in Gary, Indiana, that will create 33 million gallons of fuel from 700,000 tons of waste each year.
United Airlines invested in Fulcrum in 2015 and will be able to purchase 15 million gallons from the Gary, Indiana, plant to fuel their jets.
Fulcrum claims its trash-made biofuel will reduce emissions by 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. The trash would otherwise be put in landfills and produce methane gas.
Fulcrum already has one facility and another is under construction in Reno, Nevada. United’s agreement with Fulcrum will allow it to purchase 90 million gallons per year from the total expected six plants the company is planning to build.
While 15 million gallons from the Gary plant may seem like a lot of fuel, it’s not much when you consider that United Airlines used 2.5 billion gallons in the first nine months this year. Yet the move to use biofuel made from trash is just one step among many that United Airlines plans to implement to assist in hitting a goal of slashing their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.
Unfortunately, construction on the Gary, Indiana, plant won’t begin until 2020 and it’ll take about 18 months to two years later for operations to begin.
However, when it’s complete, perhaps some of the bits of trash we don’t think twice about throwing away every day will be used to help people travel across the world in a more eco-friendly way.