United Airlines is to purchase at least 300 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over the next 20 years as part of a new investment in supplier Dimensional Energy.
Dimensional Energy’s technology removes the need for fossil fuels, converting carbon dioxide and water into usable ingredients for the Fischer-Tropsch process – a nearly 100-year-old proven technology used to produce fuels from coal or methane.
Facilities around the world continue to use Fischer-Tropsch to produce fossil fuels, but Dimensional will be one of the first to use it to produce SAF.
Under the new commercial agreement, United has agreed to purchase at least 300 million gallons of SAF over 20 years from Dimensional. United’s SAF agreements represent the largest volume of SAF of any airline over the next 20 years, based on publicly announced agreements.
Carbon neutrality by 2050
“Sometimes you have to look to the past to solve new problems, and we recognize that decarbonizing air travel is going to require combining proven technologies, such as Fischer-Tropsch, with the latest advances in science and engineering,” said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures. “As we grow our portfolio of companies like Dimensional, we are creating opportunities to scale these early-stage technologies and achieve United’s commitment carbon neutrality by 2050, without the use of traditional carbon offsets.”
“Dimensional Energy is acutely focused on energy solutions that centre communities who have been marginalised in the past century as infrastructure and energy systems were developed. We envision a world run on truly conflict-free energy that can scale to meet the global demand for hydrocarbon fuels and feedstocks. United’s support of sustainable aviation fuel made from captured emissions is an important step in the aviation industry’s pursuit of carbon neutrality,” said Dimensional Energy Co-founder and CEO Jason Salfi.
Dimensional’s technology can run on all forms of renewable energy. At the Tucson, Arizona site, they are using electricity from the grid, which gets an increasing amount of power from local solar panels. Future plants are slated to use hydro-power, wind-power and rapidly maturing concentrated solar, which utilises heat from direct sunlight.
Dimensional can also use carbon dioxide from a variety of sources, be it straight from industrial sites (like cement plants), from Direct Air Capture (a technology that can capture CO2 from anywhere in the world), and biological processes like fermentation and biomass gasification.
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