• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14pm
Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific invests in biofuel developer to meet carbon-neutral growth targets

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 2:49am

Cathay Pacific Group is investing in a US biofuel developer to provide the airline with low-carbon fuel that will amount to an annualised 2 per cent of its fuel consumption for 10 years.

Cathay, which is aiming for carbon-neutral growth from 2020, said it was the first airline to invest in Fulcrum, a California-based waste-to-fuels developer, but declined to disclose the amount of the equity investment.

The carrier said it negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for 375 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years. The fuel would be supplied in "a few years' time", it said.

Fuel is the most significant cost for any airline and it accounted for 39 per cent of the group's operating cost last year. Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair together spent HK$37 billion on fuel last year, compared with HK$40 billion in 2012.

The price of jet fuel jumped over 30 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and remains at US$130 per barrel. The continued high price of jet fuel is a major challenge for Cathay, the company said in its annual report.

Fulcrum specialises in converting municipal solid waste into low-carbon diesel and jet fuel. It said Cathay shared its plan to bring "a whole new source of sustainable fuel to the airline industry" that had 80 per cent less life cycle carbon emissions compared to traditional fuel.

Fulcrum said it would expand its plant network in North America this year, including locations that were strategic to Cathay.

Cathay chief executive Ivan Chu Kwok-leung said the company was committed to reducing its environmental impact and was pleased to have Fulcrum as a strategic business partner.

Biofuel is expected to help the airline industry reduce its heavy carbon footprint, but the challenge is in bringing down its cost, analysts say. Boeing said it had started working with South African Airways to make jet fuel sourced from tobacco plants.


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Dont compare this one to the Solena/BA thing. Fulcrum have actually demonstrated this process, at scale and actually made jet fuel from waste.
However, I do agree with you that this tech is unlikey to appear in HK simply due to the EPD's conservative approach over emerging technologies. Time will tell. Its good to see CX taking the plunge and actually investing, rather than just signing letters of commitment.
Not quite
Like a few other reputable companies in search of the holy grail of waste disposal: conversion of municipal solid waste into aviation fuel, Fulcrum so far has built a small research gasifier, that worked for small amounts of pre-sorted waste.
Projects are underway to scale up also other processes developed by the likes of Westinghouse/AlterNRG (Air Products – Teesside), ChoPower (Morcenx), and Enerkem (Edmonton), to prove the technical and operational feasibility of plants of commercial / infrastructure size. But NONE of these projects has as yet demonstrated that it can operate on an ongoing and stable basis for an extended period.
In China the leading WTE Operators, Shanghai Environment and Everbright Environment are also tinkering with small scale gasification research projects, while at the same pressing ahead with massive building programs of 300 and more proven moving-grate, rotary kiln, and fluidized bed incinerators.
Opposing a conventional incinerator in Hong Kong because there would be a better “plasma gasification” technology available is dishonest, irresponsible, and just plain stupid!
P.S. Solena is just a talk shop.
This is just another cheap PR stint - duly avoiding to tell us how much CX is actually investing - of yet another airline desperate to show that they are doing something for the environment.
And not surprisingly does our mouth frothing "expert" dynamo duly overlook the key words in the CX announcement: in "a few years' time". Now how long could that be? 5 years? 10? Maybe 25?
Why should HK start building an incinerator using a process that might work "in a few years' time" ??
Stop harping about using unproven technology to address Hong Kong's waste crisis you moron!
The CX/Fulcrum process uses gasification of MSW & Fischer Tropsch technology
BA’s Willie Walsh speaks ‘we put our money where our mouth is’ : Plasma gasification of MSW / Fischer Tropsch
yet HKG Govt wants to go backwards, with caveman fires producing toxic ash which needs landfilling ad infinitum
the ENB rejected the offer of a FREE 150,000 tpa plasma plant that could now be destroying HKG’s daily landfilled construction waste & replace the Tsang Tsui tur d burner
contrary to what self interest self confessed 'professional' Swiss explosion power moron states CX were mighty interested in Solena when they visited here
The problem? well where would CX get the feedstock? the modular plant needs 1550 tpd supply
The local MSW source is Govt controlled
The same problem the cement company had with their Green Island kiln offer
ENB needs a set supply of feedstock to supply its ancient behemoth burner plan & they just would not give it away to a much more efficient technology that can create biofuels as it is a big loss of face to admit they were wrong & they need to change their policies & put people like the Swiss prat below out of business
The fact that they have to internally blast incinerator plants to remove dust blockages shows what a messy ancient technology it is, never mind the proximity proven cancers, deaths from emissions to air land & sea , ash landfill requirement ad infinitum etc
Meanwhile the EU is banning incineration & landfill of recyclables by 2020 whereas HK wants its hellfire 'burn all' incinerator operational by 2023
- but Christine will already be in clean aired Santa Monica for many years by then


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