United Airlines yesterday launched the airlines’ Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund of $150million.
It is the first investment vehicle to support start-ups focused on decarbonising air travel by accelerating the research, production and technologies associated with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
According to a statement by the airline, the fund starts with more than $100 million in investments from United Airlines and its inaugural partners, Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell.
Through the fund, potentially more corporate participants will invest alongside United in SAF technology and production start-ups identified by the carrier.
In the past two years, the statement added, United Airlines Ventures has invested in start-ups such as Cemvita, Dimensional Energy, and NEXT Renewable Fuels.
The statement reads: “And in a first among U.S. airlines, anyone who buys a ticket on the United website or app now has the option to contribute to supplement United’s investment in the fund.
“The first 10,000 people who choose to contribute will each receive 500 Mileage Plus Miles as a thank-you.”
“SAF is an alternative to conventional jet fuel that, on a lifecycle basis, reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with air travel compared to conventional jet fuel alone.
“SAF, which currently must be blended with conventional jet fuel to meet regulatory requirements for use within the aircraft, is being made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste, and, in the future, could be made from other feed stocks including household trash or forest waste.
“To date, United has invested in the future production of over three billion gallons of SAF – the most of any airline in the world.
“Solving climate change is doable but it requires hard work and real leadership,” said United Airlines’s Chief Executive Officer , Scott Kirby.
“This fund is unique. It’s not about offsets or things that are just greenwashing. Instead, we’re creating a system that drives investment to build a new industry around sustainable aviation fuel, essentially from scratch. That’s the only way we can actually decarbonize aviation.”, he added.
The United Airline’s Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund is open to investment by corporations across industries and the fund will prioritize investment in new technology, advanced fuel sources and proven producers, all in an effort to scale the supply of SAF. Partners of the fund also have the potential to gain preferential access to environmental attributes associated with United’s supply of SAF.
United Airlines said it has already made investments in or signed purchase agreements with companies using a variety of ingredients and technologies to produce SAF, including feedstocks like ethanol, animal byproducts, forestry and crop waste, and municipal waste, as well as early-stage, promising technologies like synthetic biology and power to liquids.