by Donald Wood
Last updated: 10:38 AM ET, Mon September 20, 2021
American Airlines announced a new partnership with Breakthrough Energy Catalyst and an investment of $100 million into clean energy technologies.
The carrier became one of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst's first anchor partners, with the two companies working to accelerate clean solutions-like sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)-for achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.
Catalyst and its partners will work together to finance and produce new solutions that will underpin a zero-carbon economy but are currently more expensive than their existing fossil-fuel emitting counterparts.
The difference between these costs is what is now referred to as the "Green Premium."
"We see immense promise in the mission of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, and our investment is a vote of confidence in the difference-making potential of this unique and collaborative approach," American CEO Doug Parker said. "We have an ambitious vision of a low-carbon future for our airline and a plan to match, but we know our own efforts can only get us so far."
"By working in partnership with Catalyst, we're helping accelerate and scale our industry's nascent solutions, like sustainable aviation fuel, along with other technologies that will be necessary to reduce emissions from aviation and across the economy," Parker continued.
Catalyst will start by funding projects across four technologies: SAF, green hydrogen, direct air capture and long-duration energy storage. To reach net-zero by 2050, American's plan to reduce its emissions relies in large part on using low-carbon fuel in increasing volumes over time.
The airline has also invested $24 billion in modernizing its fleet with 600 new and more fuel-efficient aircraft while retiring a similar number of less-efficient planes.
"Avoiding a climate disaster will require a new industrial revolution," Breakthrough Energy Founder Bill Gates said. "We need to make the technologies and products that don't cause emissions as cheap as those that do, so the whole world can afford to put them to use."
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