United to fly Houston-Chicago on Solazyme biofuel

Sun Nov 6, 2011 12:19pm EST

A logo is pictured on a wall during a news conference announcing the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines in New York, May 3, 2010.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A logo is pictured on a wall during a news conference announcing the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines in New York, May 3, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - United Airlines, the world's largest air carrier, will make the first U.S. commercial flight using an "advanced biofuel" on Monday, algae-based biofuel maker Solazyme Inc (SZYM.O) said.

The flight from Houston to Chicago will take the Boeing (BA.N) 737-800 from the former home city of Continental Airlines to the base of United, which took over Continental last year to form United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N).

The Solajet fuel blend includes 60 percent petroleum-based jet fuel and 40 percent biofuel, Solazyme said.

Shares of South San Francisco-based Solazyme were floated on Nasdaq in May, but have nearly halved in value since then as prospects for its industry have dimmed along with the broader economy, given its reliance on government funding. (Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Gary Hill)

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