United Airlines Commits to More Biofuel


United Airlines has renewed a biofuel contract with Boston-based World Energy.

Under the contract, the airline has agreed to purchase up to 10 million gallons of aviation biofuel over the next two years. The biofuel, which United currently uses to help sustainably power every flight departing its Los Angeles hub, achieves more than a 60% reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions on a lifecycle basis, the company says.

United’s contract renewal follows the airline’s original purchase agreement in 2013. United claims to be the only U.S. airline to use biofuel in its regular operations. World Energy’s biofuel is made from agricultural waste and has received sustainability certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

World Energy recently announced that it would invest $350 million to fully convert its Paramount, Calif., facility to renewable diesel and sustainable aviation jet fuel, bringing its total capacity to more than 300 million gallons of production annually at that location, one of the company’s six low-carbon-fuel manufacturing plants.

“Investing in sustainable aviation biofuel is one of the most effective measures a commercial airline can take to reduce its impact on the environment,” says Scott Kirby, United’s president. “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.”

“Great companies lead,” notes Gene Gebolys, World Energy’s CEO. “We are honored to renew our commitment to United to advance their efforts to drive change to a lower-carbon future.”

United’s contract renewal will further assist the airline in achieving its recently announced commitment to reduce GHG emissions 50% by 2050 (relative to 2005). United says its biofuel supply agreements represent more than 50% of the commercial aviation industry’s total agreements for sustainable aviation biofuel.

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