United Airlines announced today that it has grown its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)-focused investment fund, the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund, to nearly $200 million, and added eight new corporate partners to the fund.
Launched earlier this year with commitments of over $100 million of investments from United, and inaugural partners including Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell, the fund invests in and supports startups focused on SAF research, technology and production.
New partners joining the fund include American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), Aramco Ventures, Aviation Capital Group, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Groupe ADP, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Ventures.
Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott said:
“By investing in the United Ventures fund, we are helping to bring the industry together to drive the innovation and investment required to create a more sustainable future for travel.”
Sustainable aviation fuel is seen as one of the key tools to help decarbonize the aviation industry, which currently accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. SAF is generally produced from sustainable resources, like waste oils and agricultural residues. SAF producers estimate the fuels can result in lifecycle GHG emissions reductions of as much as 85% relative to conventional fuels.
The fund prioritizes investments in new technology, advanced fuel sources and proven producers, aimed at supporting the scaling of SAF supply. Investments to date include algae-to-biofuel company Viridos, and carbon capture and removal technology provider Svante.
United Airlines has committed to fully reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 without relying on carbon offsets, and the airline leads the industry with investments in future production of more than 5 billion gallons of SAF.
United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen said:
“As companies across the globe are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact from flying, the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund presents a unique opportunity – instead of fighting over the current limited supply of SAF, with our partners, we’re working collaboratively to help scale the SAF industry itself, and to get an equity stake in groundbreaking technology while doing it.”