American Airlines invests in Universal Hydrogen
American Airlines is making a “strategic equity” investment in Universal Hydrogen, making the US carrier the first airline to make two direct investments towards hydrogen-based aerospace technology.
Universal Hydrogen’s fuel distribution network uses modular hydrogen capsules that are handled like cargo. This removes the need to build fuelling infrastructure at airports and speeds up loading operations.
Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO, Universal Hydrogen said: “Together with our investors, we are putting together the end-to-end value chain to make hydrogen aviation a near-term commercial reality. This move by American is a strong signal that customers want a true zero-emissions solution for passenger aviation and are willing to back tangible, pragmatic steps to get there quickly.”
Universal plans to being hydrogen deliveries for regional aircraft in 2025, with hopes to expand its services to larger, single aisle aircraft — first for auxiliary power in the late-2020s and then as a primary fuel by the mid-2030s.
Those segments represent two-thirds of aviation emissions, so the use of zero-carbon green hydrogen would put aviation on a path to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets, according to Universal.
American’s chief financial officer, Derek Kerr said: “This technology has the potential to be a game-changer on the industry’s path to zero-emission flight. As the world’s largest airline, American has a responsibility to exercise leadership in making aviation sustainable. Our investment in Universal Hydrogen represents a vote of confidence for green hydrogen as a key element of a sustainable future for our industry.”
In a statement made to Revolution.Aero, American Airlines said: “We are not disclosing the specifics of our investment. As our partners, including Universal Hydrogen, continue to develop the technology and network around hydrogen, we will work to better understand where, when and how it best fits within our operation.”
American joins Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation and Toyota Ventures, as well as several major hydrogen producers and aircraft lessors, as investors in Universal Hydrogen.