Southwest Airlines has invested in SAFFire Renewables, a company formed by D3Max as part of a U.S. Department of Energy-backed project to develop and produce scalable sustainable aviation fuel, the carrier announced Wednesday. 

Funded with a DOE grant matched by Southwest’s investment, SAFFire will use technology developed by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to convert corn stover, a waste feedstock in the United States, into renewable ethanol that then would be upgraded into SAF. 

The companies did not disclose funding details, but D3Max in November 2021 received a DOE grant for nearly $500,000 for the production of SAF, a portion of the more than $64 million the DOE awarded for biofuels research to reduce transportation emissions. On Wednesday, DOE announced it would award an additional $59 million to accelerate the production of biofuels and bioproducts to reduce transportation emissions.

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