UAV Sustainable Flight Fund makes first investment into algae grower Viridos


United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund has invested $5m in algae biofuel company Viridos. Viridos is looking at making Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from bioengineered microalgae.

“Viridos’ algae-based biofuel technology has the potential to help solve our supply problem without the need for farmland or other agricultural resources and marks our inaugural investment in our new cross-industry UAV Sustainable Flight Fund,” said Mike Leskinen, president, United Airlines Ventures.

The company says it has already achieved seven times the oil productivity compared to typical wild-type algae. It estimates that SAF produced by Viridos’ algae oil will have a 70% reduced carbon footprint on a lifecycle basis when compared to traditional jet fuel.

Viridos grows algae in seawater. It says it requires less surface area than other feedstocks and generates a high quality plant oil.

“By establishing production sites to grow Viridos-engineered microalgae in saltwater, we are creating the foundation for a biofuel future that moves away from fossil fuels without competing for precious resources such as fresh water and arable land. We are excited to have the support from United Airlines. Together we can build the ecosystem needed to bring algae biofuels to the market,” said Oliver Fetzer, CEO, Viridos.