Hello BEST members,
 
Sustainability has become an important business focus for companies in a diverse array of industries; the airline industry is among them. The International Air Transportation Association, an airline industry trade group consisting of 240 airlines, has announced hopes to cut 2005 CO2 levels in half by 2050 and replace 6% of the world's jet fuel with biofuels by 2020. Individual airline companies are playing their part to reduce emissions by attempting trial runs with many new types of alternative fuels. United Continental is one such company that has a contract in place for 15 million gallons of alternative fuel. This is a small percentage of the 18 billion gallons of fuel that United States airlines’ use every year but it is a step in the right direction. Other airline companies are joining in as well; researching jet fuel alternatives made from trash, tobacco, sugar, and natural gas/gasified coal. South African energy company Sasol, for example, is using the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert natural gas/gasified coal into fuel. This process uses a series of chemical reactions to convert the gas into liquid hydrocarbons. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) also approved a process earlier this year that uses microbes to break down sugars into molecules that can be used in fuel. While these alternative fuels are currently more costly to produce than traditional jet fuel, the uncertainty of oil in the Middle East, the importance of sustainable business practices, and the need to stay ahead of fuel regulations have influenced companies to invest in sustainable fuel sources for the future. 
 
Gillian Rich. "Airlines Look To Fats, Trash, Sugar To Power Engines”. Inverstors.com. September 17th 2014. http://news.investors.com/business/091714-717646-airlines-look-to-sugar-fats-trash-to-power-engines.htm
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Brett Nelson
CALS University Scholar
Soil and Water Science Department
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