CleanJoule Receives $50 Million Investment to Increase Production
A deal signed by private equity firm Indigo Partners and aviation fuel startup CleanJoule secures funding for the company to produce larger amounts of sustainable aviation fuel.
Aviation is Far From Clean
The ability of our species to move ourselves and goods long distances in a short amount of time is in no small part due to the innovation of the airline industry. Over 100 years, we have gone from flying small planes short distances to crossing half the world in less than 8 hours.
While this technology has been remarkable in its ambition and scale, it has come at a high cost to the environment that we rely on. One of the major reasons this is the case is the fuel that aviation uses to fuel their planes.
Jet fuel is a highly refined petroleum product that requires the infrastructure to procure the raw materials and the chemicals to refine it. That comes at a high cost to the natural world, with the aviation industry making up 2.4% of all CO2 emissions in 2018.
However, a significant push is occurring in the aviation industry to decarbonize, with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, many companies have invested time and resources in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with one company, CleanJoule, receiving an investment of $50 million to scale up its SAF production.
The Necessity of Cleaner Fuel
The reason why SAF presents itself as such an important solution for GHGs in aviation is because of the way it’s produced. Instead of relying on fossil fuel extraction from our environment, SAF is created using agricultural waste and feedstock, which is widely available.
This technology is a major opportunity for aviation companies interested in becoming part of the solution to climate change, and many startups have been created to supply this resource to airlines and other organizations.
CleanJoule is an aviation company specializing in SAF. Founded in 2009, they have produced SAF mainly for the US military, specifically for the Navy and, more recently, for the Air Force. However, despite the US government’s interest, they have not been producing SAF at a scale required to warrant interest by commercial airlines, which use vast amounts of jet fuel in their daily operations.
With funding from private equity firm Indigo Partners, they could increase their production to a level commercial aviation companies require. The investment of $50 million is intended to bring CleanJoule to that level, which has been noticed by some commercial airlines.
The global market for SAF is projected to reach $21.3 billion by 2028, growing at a rate of 17.3% from 2023 to 2028. This growth is being driven by increasing demand for sustainable aviation fuels from airlines and airports, as well as government regulations mandating the use of SAF in commercial flights.
Frontier Airlines, based in the US, Wizz Air, based in Europe, and Volaris, based in Mexico, have signed an agreement with CleanJoule to produce up to 90 million gallons of SAF for their operations.
Dr. Mukund Karanjikar, co-founder and chief executive officer of CleanJoule, said this fuel is a key opportunity for reducing climate emissions. SAF can reduce airline GHGs by 65%, bringing the aviation industry closer to its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
Clean Fuel is the Future
As business leaders and governmental organizations continue to take steps to reduce emissions and climate impact within their respective areas, we will continue to see the benefits.
1.5 degrees Celsius is our limit, and the major, most important, and powerful players in our world have decided that we cannot let business as usual destroy our world.
We all rely on aviation for one thing or another; some travel for business, and others depend on it to ship important goods. While we can’t simply be rid of aviation, what we can do is change the way it is done.
CleanJoule represents that change, and the profits for doing so cannot be understated.