United Partners to Commercialize SAF Production

United Airlines’ corporate venture capital fund and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures have partnered with Houston-based biotech firm Cemvita Factory to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuel, the carrier announced Tuesday.

United Airlines Ventures also announced an equity investment in Cemvita Factory, a subsidiary of Occidental, but provided no further details.

Together, the venture companies will fund development work at Cemvita to convert carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons for SAF. Should performance targets be achieved, the companies plan to form a joint venture to commercialize the technology, according to United. The commercialization process would include funding projects such as “pilot and demo plants, engineering studies, financing construction and operating SAF plants.”

United Airline Ventures launched in June 2021 to fund “sustainability concepts” that will complement the carrier’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets. The group also funds aerospace developments and other “innovative technologies,” according to the carrier.

In December, United purchased as equity stake in hydrogen-electric engine developer ZeroAvia in partnership with Alaska Airlines. The company also partnered with Honeywell to invest in Alder Fuels for SAF development.

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