13 Air Carriers Sign MOU with Rentech for Synfuel Supply
Rentech, Inc. announced Dec. 15 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with 13 domestic and international passenger and cargo carriers that is intended to serve as a framework for a future definitive supply agreement for certified jet fuel from the company's proposed synthetic fuels and power facility in Adams County, Miss. (Natchez Project).
The non-binding MOU signed by Rentech and Air Canada, AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways includes terms that are anticipated to serve as the basis of a possible definitive purchase agreement by these carriers for the Natchez Project's entire synthetic jet fuel production of approximately 250 million gallons per year.
Fuel based on the Fischer-Tropsch process, including Rentech's RenJet®, is the only alternative jet fuel currently certified for use in commercial aviation at up to a 50/50 blend with traditional jet fuel. RenJet® has a lower carbon footprint as well as lower regulated emissions compared to traditional jet fuel.
The Natchez Project has the potential to contribute significantly to domestic energy security and economic growth within the state of Mississippi and its surrounding regions. The proposed facility can provide a significant supply of synthetic jet fuel that meets or exceeds existing fuel standards in quality and emissions. A recent economic impact study completed by Alcorn State University concluded that the Natchez Project would create more than 2,100 direct jobs and 3,400 indirect jobs during the project's construction phase. Once operational, the facility is expected to create more than 400 high-paying direct jobs and 3,200 indirect jobs, according to the study.
Glenn Tilton, Air Transport Association of America, Inc. board chair and UAL Corporation and United Airlines chair, president and chief executive officer, said, "Today's announcement reinforces the proactive steps that airlines are taking to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, contribute to the creation of green jobs, and promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate environmental benefits." Tilton continued, "Our intention as an airline industry is to continue to do our part by supporting the use of alternative fuels. We urge the U.S. government and the investment community also to do their part to further support this critical energy opportunity."
Using Rentech's patented and proprietary synthetic fuels technology based on Fischer-Tropsch chemistry, the Natchez Project as currently contemplated would produce approximately 400 million gallons per year of synthetic fuels and chemicals and over 120 megawatts of clean power from fossil feedstocks, with the possible integration of renewable feedstocks processed with the company's biomass gasification technologies.
Rentech has contracted to sell all of the carbon dioxide to be captured at this proposed facility to Denbury Onshore, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Denbury Resources Inc. Carbon dioxide purchased under the long-term contract would be used for enhanced oil recovery to produce otherwise unrecoverable oil at Denbury's Cranfield oil field in Southwest Mississippi as well as at the company's oil fields within the greater Gulf Coast area. The Cranfield oil field is currently hosting a U.S Department of Energy -sponsored carbon dioxide sequestration project that is the first in the nation to inject more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide into an underground rock formation followed by additional injections into the saline portion of the reservoir, more than 10,000 feet below the surface. Rentech owns an approximately 450-acre property located adjacent to the Mississippi River near Natchez, Miss., which is the intended site of this facility. The site has access to multiple feedstocks and product distribution channels including rail, pipeline, barge and roads. Feasibility engineering for the Natchez Project has been completed by WorleyParsons.