United and United Airlines Ventures (UAV) today announced an investment in Dimensional Energy for 300 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Dimensional Energy’s technology removes the need for fossil fuels, converting carbon dioxide and water into usable ingredients for the Fischer-Tropsch process – a nearly 100-year-old technology used to produce fuels from coal or methane. While facilities around the world continue to use Fischer-Tropsch to produce fossil fuels, Dimensional will be one of the first to use it to produce SAF.
Under the commercial agreement, United has agreed to purchase at least 300 million gallons of SAF over 20 years from Dimensional. United’s SAF agreements represent the largest volume of SAF of any airline over the next 20 years, based on publicly announced agreements.
Dimensional’s technology can run on all forms of renewable energy. At the Tucson site, they are using electricity from the Arizona grid, which gets an increasing amount of power from local solar panels. Future plants are slated to use hydro-power, wind-power, and rapidly maturing concentrated solar, which utilizes heat from direct sunlight.
Today’s announcement marks UAV’s fourth SAF-related technology investment, but its first the pathway of power-to-liquids: which creates SAF synthetically without the constraints of feedstock growth that is prevalent in other biofuel pathways. Launched in 2021, UAV targets startups, upcoming technologies, and sustainability concepts that will complement United’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets. UAV’s portfolio now includes SAF producers and other technologies including carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft, and urban air mobility.