Southwest Airlines Embraces Future of Green Aviation with New Renewable Ventures and Investment in LanzaJet

By Ivan PetrenkoMar 2, 2024 03:34 AMNews
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Southwest Airlines plane on the runway
Southwest Airlines plane on the runway. Source: unsplash

In a bold move towards sustainability, Southwest Airlines Co. has announced the inception of Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures (SARV), a subsidiary aimed at enhancing the airline's access to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This initiative is part of Southwest's ambitious plan to replace 10% of its jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030, demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. Additionally, the airline is making a significant $30 million investment in LanzaJet, Inc., a leading SAF technology provider. This collaboration is poised to mark a new era in aviation, focusing on eco-friendly fuel alternatives.

Southwest's proactive approach is embodied in the words of Bob Jordan, President & CEO, who emphasizes the airline's dedication to not just witnessing the shift towards sustainable aviation but actively participating in it. The partnership with LanzaJet is a strategic step towards achieving Southwest's net-zero emissions goal by 2050. The investment underscores the airline's determination to support and work alongside innovators like LanzaJet in the SAF domain.

SARV will play a pivotal role in managing Southwest's investments related to SAF, including an equity stake in SAFFiRE Renewables. This collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory highlights the carrier's focus on innovative technology, like converting agricultural residues into cellulosic ethanol, a crucial step towards producing SAF.

The agreement with LanzaJet not only supports the commercialization of this cutting-edge technology but also plans for a new ethanol-to-SAF facility dedicated to producing fuel for Southwest. This endeavor is a testament to the airline's strategy of securing high-quality, cost-effective SAF, as highlighted by Tom Nealon, President of SARV and CEO of SAFFiRE.

Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet, lauds the partnership, pointing to the transformative potential of ethanol-to-SAF technology for global aviation's sustainability goals. He emphasizes the importance of domestic ethanol production in the U.S., its benefits for local communities, and its support for the agriculture industry.

Southwest's initiative, part of its Nonstop to Net Zero plan, lays out a comprehensive approach to sustainability, focusing on carbon reduction, circularity, and collaboration. The plan is not just about meeting emissions targets but also about leading by example in the pursuit of a greener future for aviation.

As Southwest Airlines ventures into this sustainable journey with SARV and its investment in LanzaJet, the airline is setting a new standard for the industry. This move towards SAF not only aligns with environmental objectives but also promises to redefine the aviation sector's role in combating climate change, making green travel a reality for future generations.

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