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Southwest Airlines Launches Sustainable Fuel Subsidiary, Invests $30 Million in LanzaJet

Plus: GameSquare sells Jerry Jones- and John Goff-owned esports team; Colossal Biosciences lands docuseries about its de-extinction work; and more.
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Southwest Airlines has launched a wholly-owned subsidiary Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures. The new group will be dedicated to obtaining sustainable aviation fuel aiding in the company’s goal to replace 10 percent of its total jet fuel consumption by 2030. As part of the clean energy initiative, the company will also invest $30 million in sustainable aviation fuel tech provider LanzaJet, the world’s first ethanol-to-SAF commercial plant. 

“Our launch of SARV and our investment in LanzaJet demonstrate that we are not sitting on the sidelines,” said Bob Jordan, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines. “Rather, we’re in the game by taking proactive, disciplined steps toward securing affordable sustainable aviation fuel for Southwest, as we continue to march toward our goal of net zero by 2050. We look forward to working with companies and organizations developing important technology, like LanzaJet, which could help us meet our sustainable aviation fuel goals.”

The subsidiary SARV will focus on managing Southwest’s SAF-related investments, including SAFFiRE Renewables, which works with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to produce cellulosic ethanol, an important component in converting U.S. agricultural reside feedstock corn stover to sustainable aviation fuel. 

“SARV’s goal is to help scale sustainable aviation fuel through strategic investments, better positioning Southwest to have access to high quality, affordable SAF in accordance with the robust standards of Southwest’s SAF policy,” President of SARV and CEO of SAFFiRE Tom Nealon said. “Through SARV’s investment in LanzaJet, we’re also entering the next phase in the commercialization of SAFFiRE technology, which is designed to support the production of cellulosic ethanol that can be converted to sustainable aviation fuel.” 

Additionally, LanzaJet intends to build an ethanol-to-sustainable aviation fuel facility for Southwest. The plant will work to convert SAFFiRE’s cellulosic ethanol into sustainable aviation fuel. Securing additional sustainable aviation fuel is an important element of Southwest’s net zero by 2050 plan.

“LanzaJet’s ethanol-to-SAF technology represents the next generation of sustainable aviation fuel and will transform global aviation’s ability to meet its 2050 net zero targets,” said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet. “We’re proud to be working with Southwest Airlines to build out this industry as well as working with SAFFiRE Renewables to use ethanol made right here in the U.S. Southwest’s equity investment in LanzaJet will help us continue to grow and scale to meet the demands of the aviation industry, while unlocking the significant potential of the U.S. biofuels industry to benefit local communities and support the agriculture industry.” 

GameSquare Sells Jerry Jones’ and John Goff’s Esports Team for $10.36 Million

Dallas-based esports company GameSquare has sold its esports team Complexity Gaming, co-owned by John Goff and Jerry Jones, to investor group Global Esports Properties led by Complexity founder and CEO Jason Lake for $10.36 million. The sale comes on the heels of GameSquare acquiring world-leading esports team FaZe Clan and selling its Frankly radio assets in December 2023.

“Complexity is a leading esports organization that has experienced tremendous growth under GameSquare’s ownership, with annual sales increasing over 175 percent and a 10x increase in the number of aggregate social followers from 2021 to 2022. While it is bittersweet to sell Complexity, there is no one better suited to take over than Jason and his team,” GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna said.

The Complexity esports franchise was founded in 2003 with Lake alongside Goff and Dallas Cowboys owner Jones. In 2021, GameSquare acquired Complexity in 2021 for $27 million before this most recent sale back to Lake. The move indicates that GameSquare will be focusing on scaling FaZe Clan, the company where Kenna got his start in esports.

“FaZe was a client, and obviously we have a lot of cross over and close ties so conversations were more around how do we do more together and work together as partners,” Kenna told D CEO. “It eventually progressed when we realized that they were contemplating some form of liquidity event. The infrastructure we have built and understanding of the asset are perfectly suited to plugging in to the FaZe ecosystem and really turning this around.”

“This is an epic moment in the history of Complexity and we’re grateful for this exciting opportunity,” says Complexity founder and CEO Jason Lake. “I’d like to thank the Jones and Goff families and everyone at GameSquare for our years of successful collaboration. Together we’ve significantly grown Complexity’s revenues and built a financially stable organization. It’s now time to write the next chapter in our legendary story and I’m confident our loyal fans will greatly enjoy the years ahead.”

Colossal Biosciences Partners with Underdog Films for a Docuseries on Company

Biotech company Colossal Biosciences, which is working to resurrect the Woolly Mammoth, Dodo Bird, and Tasmanian Tiger, has signed with film company Underdog Films and production partner Teton Ridge Entertainment to produce a multi-year docuseries on Colossal’s de-extinction work and their effort to return the animals to their natural habitats. It will screen a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s process of ancient DNA and genetic engineering and will document the lives of the extinct species. 

The series will explore these processes, including work to cure a herpesvirus in elephants, the use of genetic diversity to save white rhinos, and the use of artificial intelligence to understand animal behavior and the effects of rewilding. 

“Transparency is core to Colossal’s mission and goals so working with the right filmmakers to chronicle our journey was incredibly important. James is at the forefront of nature focused filmmaking and there is no one better to lead the undertaking,” Colossal CEO Ben Lamm said. “Given his impressive track record, James was the right filmmaker to cover our complex, dynamic and novel story.” 

Teton Ridge Entertainment is a division of Teton Ridge, a western media and entertainment company. Underdog Films produced My Octopus Teacher, a hit Netflix docuseries that is similar to what the studio is looking to put together for Colossal.

“After these past few months with Colossal, I am more excited than ever by the extraordinary work they are doing and what will become an incredible turning point in our history,” director and founder of Underdog Films James Reed said. “Their work in de-extinction is fascinating and what’s coming up is unbelievable. I feel very privileged that we have the opportunity to bring this story to the world.” 

Ecobat Signs Agreement with Volkswagen Group U.K. to Recycle EV Batteries

Battery recycling company Ecobat has signed an agreement with Volkswagen Group United Kingdom to collect and recycle electric vehicle batteries. Under the agreement, Dallas-based Ecobat will collect EV batteries to recycle lithium-ion materials. The company will collect high-voltage batteries from dealers, distributors, and recycling center and the batteries will be processed at Ecobat’s lithium-ion recycling center. This UK center is the company’s third lithium-ion recycling facility, along with locations in Germany and Arizona.   

“We have been recycling lead batteries for VWG UK for a decade, and we are delighted to be able to extend our relationship to recycle EV lithium-ion batteries,” vice president of global sales for Ecobat Elliott Ethridge said. “Lithium-ion is a fast-growing technology, and our recycling operations can handle everything from small-format batteries to EV batteries. We also recover scrap, byproducts, end-of-life, and damaged products to help make lithium-ion battery production more sustainable. Our expertise in recycling and recovering scarce battery materials will benefit both Volkswagen Group and the environment.” 

BNSF Donates $2 Million to National Juneteenth Museum 

Transportation and logistics company BNSF Railway has donated $2 million to The National Juneteenth Museum. The donation is part of BNSF’s contribution to promote education and community development in Fort Worth. 

“BNSF is proud to partner with the National Juneteenth Museum to help honor American history and foster opportunities for economic and cultural growth, right near our headquarters here in Fort Worth,” VP of corporate relations and president of the BNSF Railway Foundation Zak Andersen, said. “We look forward to all the museum will bring to the community and the country by shining a light on those who have paved the way for future generations.” 

The National Juneteenth Museum, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to celebrating and educating Texans about the history of Juneteenth. The museum will be in the Historic Southside neighborhood of Fort Worth and will become a 50,000 square-foot building with a 250-seat amphitheater and food hall. The museum will also host guest lectures, community events, and performances, with plans to serve as a cultural hub for the city. The museum also plans to drive the Fort Worth economy through tourism, job creation, and tax revenue. 

Authors

Celie Price

Celie Price

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Layten Praytor

Layten Praytor

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