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American Airlines makes equity investment in Universal Hydrogen

American Airlines made a strategic equity investment in Universal Hydrogen Co., a company building a green hydrogen distribution and logistics network for aviation. (Earlier post.) This investment makes American the first US airline to make two direct investments focused on the development of both hydrogen-electric propulsion technology and the future of hydrogen distribution logistics.

Universal Hydrogen’s fuel distribution network uses modular hydrogen capsules that are handled like cargo, eliminating the need for new fueling infrastructure at airports and speeding up fuel loading operations. Universal Hydrogen anticipates starting hydrogen deliveries for regional aircraft in 2025, with plans 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.

Because these segments represent two-thirds of aviation emissions—nd with green hydrogen being a true zero-carbon fuel—these advances can put aviation on a path to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets.

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.

—American’s Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr

American joins Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation and Toyota Ventures, as well as several major hydrogen producers and aircraft lessors, as strategic investors in Universal Hydrogen.



As people learn how much pollution is caused by jet engines, there will be pressure to develop alternatives, Burning H2 directly in jet engines or producing electricity from fuel cells for ducted electric fan motors are two alternatives under consideration that offer the flexibility the H2 fuel can provide.

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