DALLAS — Southwest Airlines (WN) yesterday announced a 20-year agreement with USA BioEnergy for up to 680 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Over the term of the agreement, the USA BioEnergy facility could produce the equivalent of 2.59 billion gallons of net-zero fuel and avoid 30 million metric tons of CO2 once the SAF is blended with conventional jet fuel.
Southwest plans to begin purchasing SAF from the facility near Bon Wier, Texas, as early as 2028. Additionally, as part of the agreement, Southwest and USA BioEnergy have established a long-term strategic relationship, including options for Southwest to purchase up to another projected 180 million gallons of SAF per year.
Made from non-petroleum feedstocks, SAF is an alternative fuel that reduces emissions from air transportation. The fuel can be blended at different levels with limits of 10% to 50%, depending on the feedstock and how the fuel is produced. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), over 360,000 commercial flights have used SAF at 46 different airports, largely concentrated in the United States and Europe.
Southwest says it is acting to build relationships across the aviation value chain in order to proactively address the obstacles in the way of its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The airline acknowledges the crucial role that commercially viable SAF will play in the carrier’s strategy to achieve its near- and long-term carbon goals.
Commenting about the agreement, Michael AuBuchon, Managing Director of Fuel Strategy and Management at Southwest Airlines, said, “This offtake agreement with USA BioEnergy marks important progress in the development of our SAF portfolio and furthers our goal to replace 10 percent of our total jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030.”
David Prom, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of USA BioEnergy, added that USA BioEnergy was “excited to work with Southwest on this initial project and, potentially, future sites we may add to our pipeline.”
Featured image: Southwest Airlines takeoff. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways