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Frying high: PTI company first on East Coast to sell fuel made from cooking oil

Frying high: PTI company first on East Coast to sell fuel made from cooking oil

Scott Stuart

Scott Stuart of Koury Aviation poses near the company's aviation fuel tanks. Koury will be the East Coast's only dealer of an environmentally sustainable jet fuel. 

GREENSBORO — A private aviation company at Piedmont Triad International Airport has become the first on the East Coast to sell an environmentally-sustainable jet fuel that is made, in part, from used cooking oil.

That’s right. Cooking oil.

Koury Aviation, which is based at the airport’s south end off West Market Street, received its first shipment Wednesday of the fuel from a Michigan company called Avfuel Corp.

Scott Stuart of Koury Aviation said inside the company’s reception area that PTI has suggested its tenants look for ways to encourage environmentally-friendly aviation. This is a small step toward that goal.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We just want to help support this area.”

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The fuel, according to an Avfuel news release, is “made from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue materials — such as used cooking oil.”

Avfuel said it must be mixed with conventional jet fuel before it can be used. And while it’s a bit more expensive than conventional fuel, the company said each truckload provides a 19-metric-ton reduction in carbon emissions compared with petroleum-based jet fuel.

Fuel sold to the private aviation industry represents a small fraction of aircraft emissions worldwide, however, and individual jet owners may not be interested in paying extra for an environmental alternative.

But Stuart said corporations could have a different attitude. Many have goals to improve their environmental practices, so using this fuel in their corporate jets is a good thing to note in reports to shareholders and other agencies that monitor carbon emissions.

Stuart said the fuel delivered Wednesday comes from a refinery in California and that will be the likely source for some time. But as the aviation industry catches on to sustainable fuel, refineries and distribution are likely to expand toward the East Coast, making the propellant easier to refine and distribute more cheaply.

Offering the special fuel is also another way to draw more business to the small company.

Koury Aviation is relatively new to its “fixed base operator” status that allows the company to accept a broad array of flights, having begun with private charter aviation 20 years ago. Stuart said this is a chance for the company to make its service stand out from competitors and attract more customers.

Koury is also getting a chance to shine this week as the base for all private flights from schools playing in the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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