United Airlines formed a joint venture to develop and then commercialize a Sustainable Aviation Fuel technology using ethanol as the feedstock. United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains will invest up to a combined $50 million in the venture. The venture is called Blue Blade Technology and will produce up to 135 million gallons of ethanol-based SAS annually.
Green Car Congress Dot Com says if the technology is successful, Blue Blade will begin building a pilot facility in 2024, followed by a full-scale facility that could begin operating in 2028. The agreement could provide enough sustainable aviation fuel to fly more than 50,000 flights every year between United’s hub airports in Chicago and Denver.
If the technology is commercialized, the location of Blue Blade’s first plant would allow easier access to low-carbon feedstock from Green Plains’ Midwest ethanol production facilities. The technology will eventually work with any alcohol-based feedstock as a fuel source.