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Aramco, ENI and United Airlines invest in low-carbon fuel  

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Meenal Datar

Membership specialist
an aeroplane wing in the clouds

The venture units of oil firms Saudi Aramco and Italy’s ENI have joined the world’s largest passenger carrier, United Airlines, to invest in British start-up OXCCU’s efforts to slash the high cost of lower-carbon aviation fuel. 

The $22.7 million (€21.2 million) investment, led by US-based investor Clean Energy Ventures, will go to Oxford University-affiliated scientists at OXCCU, one of several companies that have been searching for ways to replace kerosene and gasoline in plane engines. 

OXCCU says it can make fuel by combining carbon dioxide captured from industry or power plants with hydrogen made using renewably sourced electricity. Its breakthrough is in using an iron-based catalyst to do this in one step, replacing the pricier two-stage process that is usually needed to bring about the chemical reaction. 

Streamlining the process knocks 50% off the capital cost and produces fewer by-products. 

‘This cutting-edge solution could be a cost-effective pathway for United to reach our commitment of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets,’ says United Airlines’ ventures president Michael Leskinen. 

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