The new technology will be used to power small aircraft. It will also be used as a source of power for larger aircraft. The technology is being developed by the U.S. Air Force. It is the first of its kind and is expected to be widely available by 2018.

United says it plans to pursue a conditional agreement for 50 of the engines. The tech could be retrofitted to aircraft from 2028, the company says. In a separate announcement, ZeroAvia said it had raised $35 million in funding. The company says the engines are "one of the most promising paths to zero-emission air travel"

ZeroAvia says it has attracted $115 million of investment from a range of stakeholders. Shell Ventures, Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and Breakthrough Energy Ventures are among the investors. The World Wildlife Fund describes air travel as "the most carbon intensive activity an individual can make"

There is excitement in some quarters regarding the potential of new, lower-emission forms of aviation. Some within the industry are circumspect about how such innovations will develop. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary was cautious when it came to the outlook for new and emerging technologies in the sector.
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