United Airlines and Honeywell have announced a multimillion-dollar investment in Alder Fuels, a company developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production technologies. According to United, Alder plans to produce SAF at scale by “converting abundant biomass, such as forest and crop waste, into sustainable low-carbon, drop-in replacement crude oil that can be used to produce aviation fuel.” The stated goal of the collaboration is to produce a drop-in replacement for petroleum jet fuel.
“Since announcing our 100% green commitment in 2020, United has stayed focused on decarbonizing without relying on the use of traditional carbon offsets,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Part of that commitment means increasing SAF usage and availability since it’s the fastest way to reduce emissions across our fleet. However, to scale SAF as quickly as necessary, we need to look beyond existing solutions and invest in research and development for new pathways like the one Alder is developing.”
As part of the agreement, United has committed to purchasing 1.5 billion gallons of SAF from Alder provided the fuel meets the airline’s requirements. The airline noted that the 20-year purchase agreement is the largest publicly announced SAF agreement to date. Alder’s research is also being supported by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Energy (DOE) and a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).