United Airlines invests $30 million in Pleasanton-based bioenergy firm

Fulcrum BioEnergy transforms municipal solid waste into transportation fuels

United Airlines has invested $30 million in Pleasanton-based Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. with the option to directly participate in Fulcrum's waste-to-jet fuel plants across North America.

Fulcrum, located at 4900 Hopyard Road, is a pioneer in the development of a reliable and efficient process for transforming everyday household garbage into low-carbon transportation fuels.

United will also have the opportunity to purchase 90 million gallons per year of Fulcrum's cost-competitive, sustainable jet fuel under long-term offtake agreements, subject to availability. This represents the biggest strategic partnership in the biofuels and aviation industries and Fulcrum's second direct investment by an airline.

"This is a major advancement of Fulcrum's program to provide large volumes of commercial and military spec fuel at competitive pricing to the industry," said E. James Macias, Fulcrum's president and Chief Executive Officer. "This strategic partnership with United accelerates our whole program."

Fulcrum has been awarded grants by the U.S. Department of Defense and a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the expectation that it will be a future supplier of renewable transportation fuels to the military.

The company also has an alliance with Cathay Pacific Airlines.

Fulcrum converts the carbon and hydrogen energy in wastes into a clean syncrude that can be upgraded to either jet or diesel drop-in fuels. The clean fuel meets all the commercial and military specifications for ground, air and sea transportation fuels.

At its Sierra BioFuels plant, Fulcrum's first commercial scale facility located 20 miles east of Reno, Fulcrum converts more than 180,000 tons of prepared feedstock into approximately 12 million gallons per year of renewable syncrude that will be further refined into low-carbon transportation fuel.

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