Southwest Airlines today announced an offtake agreement with renewable fuels developer USA BioEnergy to purchase up to 680 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over 20 years, beginning as early as 2028.
According to Southwest, the new agreement will avoid 30 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the life of the contract.
The deal is the latest in a series of SAF purchasing agreements for Southwest in recent years, with suppliers including Velocys, Neste, Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66. Last year, Southwest also invested in SAFFiRE Renewables, a company focused on testing and commercializing technology for the production of low-cost sustainable aviation fuel, and was part of a Department of Energy (DOE)-backed project to develop and produce scalable SAF. Southwest has set a goal of replacing 10% of its jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030.
Michael AuBuchon, Managing Director Fuel Strategy and Management at Southwest Airlines, said:
“This offtake agreement with USA BioEnergy marks significant progress in the development of our SAF portfolio and advances our goal of replacing 10 percent of our total jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030. We look forward to the opportunity to expand our strategic relationship with USA BioEnergy and potentially purchase more SAF from them in the future.”
Arizona-based USA BioEnergy is developing advanced biorefineries that specialize in converting sustainably produced wood waste into renewable diesel, sustainable jet fuel and naphtha. According to the company, renewable fuels reduce emissions by 80% compared to traditional fossil fuels.
Under the new agreement, USA BioEnergy will supply SAF to Southwest from its facility near Bon Wier, Texas. The companies also announced a long-term strategic relationship that will give Southwest the opportunity to purchase an additional expected 180 million gallons of SAF per year from future planned production facilities.
David Prom, chairman of the board and co-founder of USA BioEnergy, said:
“Our agreement with Southwest Airlines is a perfect fit because it aligns Southwest’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with USA BioEnergy’s goal to become the leading producer of carbon negative fuel. USA BioEnergy is excited to work with Southwest on this first project and potentially future sites we may add to our pipeline.”