Low Cost & Regional

Wizz Air, Frontier Airlines and Volaris invest in SAF start-up CleanJoule

Wizz Air, Frontier Airlines and Volaris  have invested in US Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) start-up CleanJoule.

The firm announced a $50 million investment round led by private equity firm Indigo Partners and supported by GenZero, a decarbonisation-focused investment platform which is part of Singapore-based Temasek.

The round also involved Cleanhill Partners, another US private equity firm focused on decarbonisation and three carriers including US budget carrier Frontier Airlines, European lowcost operator Wizz Air and Mexico-based Volaris.

As part of the consortium’s investment, Frontier, Wizz, 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.

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.

Dr Mukund Karanjikar, co-founder and chief executive officer of CleanJoule, said: “The aviation industry presents a key frontier in carbon emissions mitigation.

“There has never been a more crucial time for us to lead the change than through viable sustainable fuel alternatives.

“As we advance on the commercialisation of our fuel technology, CleanJoule is well-positioned to scale the supply of SAFs in the market and shorten the runway in the transition towards a greener aviation industry.

“We are proud to have the support of our new investor partners, who not only share our mission but who have chosen to place their capital and trust in us to drive the transformation of global aviation.”

CleanJoule said the funding round marks an important chapter in the global effort to mitigate carbon emissions and deliver meaningful climate action.

SAF is estimated by IATA to have the potential to contribute up to 65 per cent of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation sector to reach net zero in 2050.

Depending on the feedstock and technologies used to produce it, SAF can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions dramatically compared to conventional jet fuel.

Bill Franke, managing partner of Indigo Partners, said: “Indigo Partners and its portfolio airlines are committed to decarbonizing air transportation, and the investment in CleanJoule will increase the supply of SAF to the industry.

“The company has developed a unique technology to convert abundantly available feedstocks into SAF with remarkable efficiency. We believe that CleanJoule will be a key player in the decarbonization puzzle of the aviation industry.”

Frederick Teo, chief executive officer of GenZero, added: “Decarbonizing aviation requires solutions that can be adopted at scale.

“CleanJoule’s fuel technology relies on widely available feedstock – agricultural waste – to produce a sustainable biofuel that could be cost-effective at scale with better fuel economy.

“Its unique approach also allows for higher levels of substitution with conventional aviation fuel thus creating a greater decarbonization impact. We are delighted to support CleanJoule to achieve greater adoption of SAF globally.”

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