United Signs International Purchase Agreement for Sustainable Aviation Fuel
This week, United Airlines announced a purchase agreement with Neste for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). United is now the first U.S. airline to sign an international purchase agreement for SAF, and will be able to buy more than 50 million gallons of SAF over the next three years. According to the announcement, the SAF purchased from Neste will fuel United flights from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Neste’s SAF is made from renewable waste and residue raw materials that are sustainably sourced. The process involves using hydrogen to turn cooking oil, animal fat, and other materials into HEFA (hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids) fuels, or SAF. As Neste increases production of SAF, the company may be able to supply SAF for United Airlines at additional airports around the world. Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice President of Renewable Aviation at Neste, expressed his excitement for the new partnership with United: “Our global, fast-growing SAF production and supply chain supports airlines and their customers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
This is the largest SAF purchase agreement made by Neste to provide SAF for a passenger airline. Neste has a goal of producing 515 million gallons of SAF annually, which it hopes to achieve by the end of next year.
Sustainable aviation fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. United has demonstrated its strong commitment to reaching its goal of zero emissions by the year 2050 by signing this new purchase agreement with Neste. Lauren Riley, Chief Sustainability Officer at United, explained that reducing fuel emissions is the fastest way to achieve their sustainability goals. “The demand from our customers to limit their emissions from flying is growing exponentially, and this agreement means that United customers flying from Amsterdam and potentially other airports will be partners in our sustainability efforts,” she remarked in the airline’s announcement.
United’s mission to reach net zero emissions by 2050 includes supporting the development of electric aircraft, as shown in their recent partnership with Archer Aviation. The two companies formed a joint advisory committee, announced in April, to support development of Archer’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. United has already agreed to purchase 200 eVTOL aircraft from Archer.
United also made headlines in December 2021 when they announced completion of the first commercial flight using 100% sustainable fuel. The aircraft transported more than 100 passengers from Chicago to Washington, D.C. and used 500 gallons of SAF. Boeing, CFM International, Virent, and World Energy supported this achievement.
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