Stock Photos from Chokniti Khongchum / Shutterstock

United ups commitment to sustainable aviation biofuel, extends contract with World Energy

United Airlines officials in Chicago have strengthened their commitment to ensuring United is an environmentally conscious carrier by expanding its contract with Boston-based World Energy and agreeing to purchase up to 10 million gallons of commercial-scale, sustainable aviation biofuel over the next two years. United currently uses the biofuel to help sustainably power every flight departing out of its Los Angeles Airport (LAX) hub and achieve more than a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, officials say.

 

“Investing in sustainable aviation biofuel is one of the most effective measures a commercial airline can take to reduce its impact on the environment," United President Scott Kirby explains. "As leaders in this space, United and World Energy are setting an example for the industry on how innovators can work together to bring our customers, colleagues, and communities toward a more sustainable future."

 

United and World Energy biofuel aircraft
Image: United and World Energy

 

World Energy’s biofuel is made from agricultural waste and has received sustainability certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials. World Energy officials are investing $350 million to convert its Paramount, California, facility to renewable diesel and sustainable aviation jet fuel, bringing its total capacity to 300 million gallons of production annually at that location, one of the company's six low-carbon fuel manufacturing plants.

 

"Great companies lead," says World Energy CEO Gene Gebolys, noting United’s efforts “to drive change to a lower carbon future.”

 

The contract renewal with World Energy will assist United officials in achieving their goal to reduce the airline’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050. “Our pledge to reduce emissions by 50 percent relative to 2005 represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road, or the total number of cars in New York City and Los Angeles combined,” United officials affirm. “Our biofuel supply agreements represent more than 50 percent of the commercial aviation industry's total agreements for sustainable aviation biofuel.”

 

In addition to the agreement with World Energy, United has invested more than $30 million in California-based sustainable fuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy – being called the single largest investment by any airline globally in sustainable fuels.

 

 
 

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Courtney E. Howard is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International. Contact her by e-mail at courtney.howard@sae.org

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