Another Major U.S. Airline Commits to Using Sustainable Fuel, Produced in Mississippi

Velocys is producing SAF from forest residues, with the help of solar power and carbon capture technologies 7 photos
Photo: Velocys
SAF ProductionSAF ProductionSAF ProductionGreen AviationSouthwest AirlinesSAF Production
Big names in the aerospace industry, including Rolls-Royce and Airbus, are working on certifying the use of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on commercial aircraft, but until then, slowly replacing conventional jet fuel with SAF is seen as the best way of reducing the carbon footprint.
SAF production is supported by the U.S. Government, through a recent major funding program, and by airlines as well, which are promoting clean alternatives by purchasing large amounts of SAF, for a considerable period of time. A few months ago, United Airlines announced that it had signed the biggest SAF purchase agreement in aviation history. The company committed to acquiring 1.5 billion gallons of SAF, over a period of 20 years, from Alder Fuels.

Another recent agreement of the same kind advances the use of clean fuel for commercial aviation. Southwest Airlines has agreed to purchase 219 million gallons of SAF, over a period of 15 years, from Velocys Renewables.

Velocys claims to produce “the lowest carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel announced to date,” at its Bayou Fuels facility in Natchez, Mississippi. The production process uses sustainable feedstock (residues from plantation forests), renewable power provided by a nearby solar facility, plus carbon capture technology that will help contain more than 500,000 tons of CO2 per year. According to Velocys, the SAF that will be produced at Bayou Fuels will result in 90% less sulfur, compared to conventional jet.

Until the large-scale certification for the use of 100% SAF, this alternative fuel will be used blended with conventional fuel. Even so, this 15-year agreement could lead to a reduction of over 7 million tons of CO2. Southwest Airlines intends to replace 10% of its total jet fuel consumption, with SAF, by 2030. It might not sound like a lot, but it’s a significant step for aviation, where decarbonization is not as easy to achieve as in other mobility sectors.

Velocys will be providing its low-carbon SAF to IAG (International Airlines Group) as well, which is the first European airline group to commit to powering 10% of its flights with SAF, by 2030. Under the agreement with Velocys, the Bayou Fuels SAF will be used to power flights from British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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