United Airlines, and its sustainable aviation-focused venture capital fund United Airlines Ventures (UAV) announced today a new investment and commercial agreement with CO2 utilization company Dimensional Energy. Under the new agreement, United will purchase at least 300 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over 20 years, produced from repurposed carbon dioxide.
Founded in 2016, Dimensional uses carbon dioxide emissions to make fuels, based on the
Fischer-Tropsch process, an almost 100-year-old technology used to produce fuels from coal or methane. The company is the first to use the process to produce SAF, avoiding the feedstock-related challenges of other SAF technologies.
Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures, said:
“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.”
Dimensional’s technology can run on different forms of renewable energy. At its Tucson, Arizona site, the company uses electricity from the Arizona grid, and future plants are expected to use hydro-power, wind-power, and concentrated solar, which uses heat from direct sunlight. Additionally, the company can use CO2 from different sources, including cement plans, direct air capture and biological processes like fermentation and biomass gasification.
Jason Salfi, Dimensional Energy Co-founder and CEO, said:
“On top of delivering clear environmental impact, our business model includes delivering durable benefit to local communities through creative partnerships. We envision a world run on conflict-free energy. United’s support of sustainable aviation fuel made from captured emissions is an important step in the aviation industry’s pursuit of carbon neutrality.”
United Airlines has committed to fully reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 without relying on carbon offsets. The agreement marks the latest in a series of SAF-focused initiatives for the company, including the launch last year of the Eco-Skies Alliance, a program aimed at enabling corporate customers the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of travel beyond purchasing offsets, by paying the additional cost of SAF. In December, United completed its first passenger flight with a 100% sustainable aviation fuel-powered engine.
“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.”