Southwest Airlines acquires Saffire Renewables for SAF

Southwest Airlines has announced the acquisition of SAFFiRE Renewables, LLC (SAFFiRE) as part of the investment portfolio of its wholly owned subsidiary Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures, LLC (SARV). SARV is dedicated to creating more opportunities for Southwest® to obtain scalable sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAFFiRE is part of a project supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and produce scalable renewable ethanol that can be upgraded into SAF. SAFFiRE expects to utilize technology developed at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to convert corn stover, a widely available agricultural residue feedstock in the U.S., into renewable ethanol.

Southwest first invested in SAFFiRE during phase one of the pilot project in 2022. With this acquisition, SAFFiRE is expected to proceed with phase two of the project by developing a pilot plant hosted at Conestoga’s Arkalon Energy ethanol facility in Liberal, Kansas. Initially, this plant is intended to utilize SAFFiRE’s exclusive technology license from NREL to process 10 tons of corn stover per day for the production of renewable ethanol. Then, the plan is for the ethanol to be converted into SAF by LanzaJet, Inc. (LanzaJet).

The acquisition of SAFFiRE comes shortly after Southwest announced an investment in LanzaJet, a SAF technology provider and producer with a patented ethanol-to-SAF technology and the world’s first ethanol-to-SAF commercial plant.

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