Southwest acquires SAFFiRE Renewables


Southwest Airlines announced that it has acquired SAFFiRE Renewables as part of the investment portfolio of its wholly owned subsidiary Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures.

This acquisition will help SAFFiRE proceed with phase two of the project by developing a pilot plant hosted at Conestoga’s Arkalon Energy ethanol facility in Liberal, Kansas. Initially, the plant will utilise SAFFiRE’s exclusive technology license from NREL to process 10 tons of corn stover per day for the production of renewable ethanol.

The ethanol will then be converted into SAF by LanzaJet. Southwest’s acquisition of SAFFiRE comes shortly after Southwest announced a $30m investment in LanzaJet.

“This acquisition marks Southwest’s transition from investor to sole owner of SAFFiRE, expressing our confidence in SAFFiRE’s technology and its potential to advance our sustainability goals as well as the goals of the broader industry,” said Bob Jordan, president and CEO, Southwest Airlines.

“Championing SAF is a key pillar of Southwest’s Nonstop to Net Zero plan and our work toward a more sustainable future for air travel. We look forward to continuing our journey with SAFFiRE as part of our efforts to propel this promising technology forward.”

Earlier, Southwest invested in SAFFiRE during phase one of the pilot project in 2022. 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. The SAF producer is working on technology developed at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to convert corn stover into renewable ethanol.

“Renewable ethanol is an important feedstock to realising high-volume, affordable SAF, which is a critical part of the journey to net zero carbon emissions,” said Tom Nealon, president of SARV and CEO of SAFFiRE.

Southwest Airlines launched the Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures in February earlier this year to obtain scalable sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).