CleanJoule, a US-based start-up focused on the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), has raised US$50 million in its latest investment round, which was led by US private equity (PE) firm Indigo Partners.
The round also included participation by GenZero, a Singapore-based decarbonization-focused investment platform company owned by sovereign wealth fund Temasek; Cleanhill Partners, a US-based PE firm focused on decarbonization; and three airlines – US-based Frontier Airlines, Europe-based Wizz Air and Mexico-based Volaris.
Funds raised from the round will support the further development of CleanJoule’s technology to produce high-performance SAF from agricultural residues and other waste biomass more cost-effectively. The funding round marks an important chapter, CleanJoule says, in the global effort to mitigate carbon emissions and deliver meaningful climate action.
SAF, a biofuel used to power commercial aircraft but with a smaller carbon footprint, could, according to the International Air Transport Association, potentially contribute up to 65% of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation sector to reach net zero in 2050. As well, SAF, depending on the feedstock and technologies used to produce it, can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions dramatically compared with conventional jet fuel.
As part of the consortium’s investment, Frontier Airlines, Wizz Air and Volaris have signed binding agreements to purchase up to 90 million gallons of SAF. The principals of Indigo Partners will also receive a board seat on CleanJoule’s board of directors.
“The aviation industry presents a key frontier in carbon emissions mitigation,” notes Mukund Karanjikar, the tech start-up’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “ There has never been a more crucial time for us to lead the change than through viable sustainable fuel alternatives.”