United Airlines has announced its agreement to acquire up to 1 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Houston-based sustainable technology startup Cemvita. This new partnership comes after United Airlines invested in Cemvita in 2022. As part of the agreement, United Airlines plans to procure up to 50 million gallons of SAF annually for the next 20 years.
United Airlines has positioned itself as a global leader in SAF production investment and remains committed to supporting various pathways for sustainable aviation fuel production. The company sees this collaboration with Cemvita as a significant step towards achieving its ultimate goal of fostering growth in the nascent SAF industry.
The 1 billion gallons outlined in this deal represent one-third of the Biden administration’s SAF Grand Challenge target for 2030. The administration aims to achieve a U.S. production capacity of 35 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year by 2050.
Michael Leskinen, president of United’s corporate venture arm, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “Cemvita’s technology represents a path forward for a potentially significant supply of SAF, and it’s our hope that this offtake agreement for up to one billion gallons is just the beginning of our collaboration.”
Established in 2017, Cemvita aims to remove 250 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually by 2050. The company’s pilot plant in Houston is designed not only to produce sustainable aviation fuel but also to convert captured CO2 into fertilizers, plastics, and methane.