United Airlines To Invest $15 million in Carbon-capture Enterprise

 - March 29, 2023, 10:34 AM
Svante's carbon-capture and removal technology employs structured absorbent beds that can capture 95 percent of CO2 emissions from industrial sites. (Image: Svante)

United Airlines has committed to a $15 million investment in carbon-capture technology company Svante, the U.S. carrier said Wednesday. Svante provides materials and technology to convert CO2 removed from the atmosphere and from industrial emission sources into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The commitment marks the latest investment from the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund, which was established in February to support startup businesses focused on decarbonizing air travel through SAF research, technology, and production. United aims to completely eradicate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets. The airline has invested in the future production of more than three billion gallons of SAF.

“Carbon-capture technology has the potential to be a critical solution in the fight to stop climate change and has the added benefit of helping us scale the production of SAF,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “And at United, we're building on that approach by investing in both companies that can capture CO2 and others that can turn it into fuel. There's no question that this carbon utilization is in its infancy today, but as a leader in sustainable flying, we must help build the foundation to deploy this technology of the future as expediently as possible. This is truly a global imperative, and United's investment in Svante reflects our dedication to making sustainable travel a reality.”

The investment came as part of Svante's Series E financing round and will fund and support Svante's commercial-scale filter manufacturing facility in Vancouver, Canada.

“The airline industry has a huge opportunity to make a big impact on global decarbonization—battling climate change through the transition to sustainable aviation fuels and other innovative technologies that will help the world achieve net zero,” said Svante CEO Claude Letourneau. “[United’s] investment in companies like ours will aid in accelerating the commercialization of carbon capture and removal technology."

Svante deploys second-generation solid sorbent-based carbon capture and removal. The company's commercially available carbon-capture and removal technology employs structured absorbent beds, known as filters. Such filters can capture 95 percent of CO2 emissions from industrial sites as well as CO2 already emitted into the air. The process concentrates captured CO2 for use in the creation of SAF or other products.

Svante's manufacturing facility plans to produce enough filter modules to capture millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year across hundreds of large-scale carbon-capture facilities. 

Along with the Sustainable Flight Fund, United launched an SAF purchasing program called the Eco-Skies Alliance. Its United Airlines Ventures subsidiary identifies and invests in companies and technologies that can decarbonize air travel, including carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft, and air taxis.