United Airlines invests $5M in algae-based fuel

Viridos United

United Airlines has announced a $5 million investment in Viridos, an algae-based fuel producer, marking the first investment for its UAV Sustainable Flight Fund.

Viridos’ technology uses microalgae to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), an alternative to traditional jet fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel.

The investment in Viridos is unique as it offers a solution to the significant shortage of available feedstock for SAF production without impacting the food supply chain.

Sustainable flight fund

United Airlines’ UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, launched to decarbonize air travel, has made its first investment in Viridos.

The fund has more than $100 million in investments from United and corporate partners, including Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

SAF is an alternative to conventional jet fuel that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel. United Airlines has invested in the future production of over three billion gallons of SAF, the most of any airline globally, and is committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Investment in Viridos’ technology

Viridos’ bioengineering technology facilitates high algae oil output on relatively small areas, and its algae are grown in vessels containing seawater without using scarce freshwater resources.

United’s investment in Viridos offers a unique solution to the significant shortage of available feedstock for SAF production without using farmland or other agricultural resources.

United Airlines’ commitment to decarbonizing air travel

United Airlines’ investment in Viridos shows the airline’s commitment to decarbonizing air travel by supporting start-ups focused on SAF research, technology, and production.

In addition to Viridos, the airline is investing in various companies and technologies, including carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, and electric regional aircraft.

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has found that the country’s vast feedstock resources are sufficient to meet the projected SAF demand of the entire U.S. aviation industry. The Federal Government has also recognized the value of SAF by including a new blender’s tax credit specifically for SAF in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.


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