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Universal Hydrogen raises $62M to boost first hydrogen test flight

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Universal Hydrogen has announced the completion of a $62 million financing round.

Mitsubishi HC Capital, Tencent, Stratos, GE Aviation, Waltzing Matilda Aviation, Fourth Realm, Hawktail, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, Jeff Wilke, and Spencer Rascoff’s 75 and Sunny Ventures are among the new investors in the round. Playground Global, Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota Ventures, Sojitz, Future Shape, and Trucks were among the investors in the previous round, which closed in April 2021. Universal Hydrogen has already raised a total of $85 million in cash.

This financing will allow Universal Hydrogen to undertake the first test flight of their hydrogen fuel cell powertrain on a 40+ seat regional aircraft in 2022 at Moses Lake, Washington, when every day counts in the battle against catastrophic climate change. The green hydrogen for the trip will be delivered using Universal Hydrogen’s modular fuel capsules, which allow hydrogen to be delivered directly from the site of production to the airplane utilizing existing freight networks and cargo handling equipment without the need for additional infrastructure. The unique modular capsule technology is much lighter than the existing state of the art in hydrogen storage and was built from the ground up for flight and ground transportation safety certification.

With a certified retrofit conversion kit for current ATR 72 and De Havilland Canada Dash-8 regional airliners and a green hydrogen fuel services offering, the firm expects to enter commercial operation in 2025. Together, these will provide regional operators unit economics that are comparable to or better than those of traditional jet fuel-powered aircraft. Universal Hydrogen has a sizable commercial order pipeline, which includes LOIs from Icelandair, Air Nostrum, Ravn Alaska, and ASL Aviation Holdings, among others.

Peter Barrett, General Partner at Playground Global and a member of Universal Hydrogen’s Board of Directors, said, “Universal Hydrogen has gathered an amazing investor syndicate, comprising significant strategic and financial partners spanning Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia.” “This is a tribute to Universal Hydrogen’s realistic approach to our generation’s monumental—even existential—challenge and the world-class team it has generated around it.”

“While regional aviation offers a significant business potential and a crucial early proof point in the battle against climate change, it accounts for just a small portion of total aviation emissions,” said Paul Eremenko, Universal Hydrogen’s co-founder and CEO. “Beginning in the 2030s, the world’s narrowbody aircraft fleet must become hydrogen-powered if we wish to decarbonize the sector within the Paris Agreement’s timeline.” There is no other known method of getting there.” To that aim, the business is dedicated to working with all major stakeholders, including airlines, lessors, and aircraft and engine manufacturers, to guarantee that the next generation of narrowbody aircraft (which will follow the 737 and A320 families) are truly zero-emission vehicles.

“Climate change’s gravity is pushing a tipping point in the green hydrogen ecosystem of producers, distributors, and consumers,” says the report “Toyota Ventures’ founding Managing Director, Jim Adler, stated. “Universal Hydrogen has the ground-breaking technology, brilliant staff, and operational urgency to become the hydrogen ecosystem’s distribution leader. We are happy to continue to support their efforts in whatever manner we can as early investors.”

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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