United Airlines invests undisclosed sum in sodium ion battery maker Natron Energy


United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL, +1.56% said Wednesday it’s investing an undisclosed sum in sodium ion batter maker Natron Energy Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based energy storage company founded in 2012. The air carrier said it’s the first major airline to invest in a battery manufacturer, based on publicly announced investments. “Sodium-ion batteries have the potential to help United electrify its airport ground equipment like pushback tractors and operations at the gate,” the airline said. Natron Energy marks the company’s first investment with the potential to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint from its ground operations. “Our batteries provide the high power over short distances that ground service equipment needs, and unlike lithium-ion, Natron’s batteries are completely nonflammable and can be safely deployed into ground service operations,” said Natron Energy CEO Colin Wessells. Shares of United are up 0.2% in premarket trades on Wednesday.

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