American Airlines Puts Its Capital into a Hydrogen Startup Company

American Airlines Puts Its Capital into a Hydrogen Startup Company

Airlines 2022-10-30
Investment by American Airlines Group Inc. in Universal Hydrogen Co. is the most recent in a string of contracts by the Fort Worth-based airline to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

Universal Hydrogen, based in Hawthorne, California, creates capsules that can be loaded straight aboard aircraft as cargo and safely store hydrogen while it's in transit. The two-year-old company is also developing a kit that would enable existing regional turboprop aircraft to be retrofitted with hydrogen power and fly.

As an investor in Universal Hydrogen, American (Nasdaq: AAL) joins Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation, and Toyota Ventures, as well as several significant hydrogen manufacturers and aircraft lessors. American Airlines investment's terms weren't made public. In the previous year, Universal Hydrogen raised more than $85 million through series A and B funding rounds.

By contributing, American becomes the first US airline to directly lead to the growth of both logistics for future hydrogen distribution and hydrogen-electric propulsion technology. In August, American Airlines revealed that it would invest at least $5 million in ZeroAvia, a producer of hydrogen-electric jet engines. The carrier has just signed a $2.75 billion contract with Gevo Inc. of Englewood, Colorado to purchase 500 million gallons of jet fuel made from corn.

The United States has established targets to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. By 2035, the air carrier wants to cut its emissions by 45% from a baseline of 2019 for every unit of passengers and cargo that the airline transports. Additionally, American pledged to cut its emissions from the generation of the electricity the airline buys by 40%.

Source – Shutterstock. Color illustration photo of environmental pollution, namely gas emissions

Derek Kerr, the chief financial officer, reported in a statement the following:
"As the biggest airline in the world, American must take the lead in ensuring that aviation is sustainable. Our investment in Universal Hydrogen is a statement of support for green hydrogen as a crucial component of our industry's sustainable future."
With plans to extend its services to larger, single-aisle aircraft, Universal Hydrogen expects beginning hydrogen supplies for regional aircraft in 2025. Initially, these services will be used for auxiliary power in the late 2020s and subsequently as a primary fuel by the mid-2030s.

Here's what Paul Eremenko, Universal Hydrogen CEO, highlighted as well:
"This decision by American Airlines is a powerful signal that customers demand a truly zero-emissions solution for passenger aircraft and are prepared to support concrete, practical initiatives to get there rapidly."

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Source – Shutterstock. Young woman in a straw hat and summer dress with a backpack waiting for the flight in a modern airport terminal building

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Source – Shutterstock. View of an airplane landing somewhere in the flower field

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