ZeroAvia, a trailblazer in hydrogen-electric aircraft technology, has unveiled that a consortium of industry leaders has co-led its latest financing round. This group includes aviation giant Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and NEOM.
Joining this strategic investment are prominent players such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures, and the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund.
This substantial injection of capital is poised to catapult ZeroAvia towards its ultimate goal: achieving certification for its groundbreaking hydrogen-electric engine. More ambitiously, it aligns with ZeroAvia’s mission of introducing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems into every aircraft, marking a significant step forward in transforming aviation into an eco-friendly and sustainable mode of transportation.
In conjunction with this investment, Airbus and ZeroAvia have forged a collaboration agreement. This partnership will primarily focus on developing certification approaches for hydrogen power systems. Beyond that, the two companies plan to collaborate on several crucial technical facets, including advancements in liquid hydrogen fuel storage, rigorous flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and the creation of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operational protocols.
ZeroAvia’s choice of hydrogen-electric propulsion systems is driven by their recognition as the most environmentally friendly and economically attractive solution to mitigate aviation’s escalating impact on climate change. ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines utilize hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which, in turn, powers electric motors responsible for propelling the aircraft. Remarkably, the sole byproduct of this process during flight is pure water, making it an environmentally conscientious choice.
Airbus, a global leader in advancing alternative propulsion technologies using hydrogen, views fuel cell systems as integral components of its ZEROe aircraft concepts program. This program is dedicated to developing low-carbon emission airframes across various aircraft sizes. Airbus recently achieved a significant milestone by conducting ground tests of a hydrogen engine concept boasting a power output of 1.2 MW.
The financial infusion resulting from this investment will serve as a catalyst for ZeroAvia’s continued growth and technological advancements. It will play a pivotal role in propelling ZeroAvia’s first product, the ZA600, through the rigorous certification process. The ZA600 recently achieved a significant milestone by completing the first phase of flight testing of its prototype. The company is now poised to undertake the remaining design work, with the aim of achieving certification and entering into service by 2025, catering to aircraft with up to 20 seats.
Furthermore, this funding will empower ZeroAvia to advance its larger engine program, the ZA2000, a modular powertrain boasting a capacity ranging from 2 to 5.4 MW, strategically designed to support larger commercial aircraft applications. ZeroAvia is currently working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator, generously provided by Alaska Airlines. The goal is to conduct the first flight tests with a full-sized engine by 2024. This substantial investment will further enhance ZeroAvia’s leadership in developing core in-house technologies for multi-MW class hydrogen-electric engines. These technologies encompass high-temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced electric motors and power electronics, and onboard liquid hydrogen fuel storage.
In essence, the collaboration between ZeroAvia, Airbus, Barclays, and other industry leaders marks a significant leap forward in the pursuit of sustainable aviation. It reinforces the collective commitment of these industry giants to confront the challenges of climate change and usher in a new era of eco-friendly aviation.