Monday, July 15, 2024

ZeroAvia Secures Investment from Airbus, Barclays, and NEOM for Hydrogen-Electric Plane Development

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ZeroAvia, a pioneer in the development of hydrogen-electric propulsion for aircraft, has secured additional funding to support the continued advancement of its zero-emission aviation technology. The company’s ultimate goal is to enable emissions-free flights aboard 76-seat aircraft, and this latest financing round includes notable investments from Airbus, Barclays, and NEOM, the innovative “living laboratory” in Saudi Arabia.

ZeroAvia has consistently achieved significant milestones along its ambitious development timeline, spanning a decade. Notably, the company has obtained experimental flight certificates from both the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These achievements were realized in the regions where the company maintains its dual headquarters.

See also: ZeroAvia Secures New Orders for Hydrogen-Electric Powertrains, Boosting the Future of Sustainable Aviation

In January, ZeroAvia marked a significant achievement by successfully completing the maiden flight of its 19-passenger hydrogen-electric plane, which was the largest of its kind at the time. Despite this milestone, ZeroAvia has set its sights on even larger and more powerful aircraft, with plans to deliver a 40- to 80-seat hydrogen-electric aircraft boasting a range of up to 700 miles by 2027.

The scale of such an endeavour necessitates substantial funding, a requirement that ZeroAvia has consistently garnered support for. Notably, Alaska Airlines has been a prominent investor in ZeroAvia and is currently collaborating on the development of a hydrogen-electric aircraft. This collaboration was part of a $30 million funding round completed in the summer of 2022, which also featured contributions from Barclays’ Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s forward-thinking city of the future.

See also: Fortum and ZeroAvia Partner to Explore Hydrogen Infrastructure for Zero-Emission Flights

In the most recent funding round, both Barclays and NEOM have once again joined forces with Alaska Airlines, accompanied by aviation giant Airbus. Additional participants in this round include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures, and the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund.

Under Airbus’ investment, the company has entered into an agreement with ZeroAvia to collaborate on obtaining certifications for hydrogen power systems. This partnership also encompasses joint efforts in various technical areas, including the development of liquid hydrogen fuel storage, ground and air testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and the establishment of refuelling infrastructure.

Glenn Llewellyn, Vice President of ZEROe Aircraft at Airbus, expressed confidence in ZeroAvia’s capabilities, citing their successful flight testing of fuel cell propulsion and hydrogen storage and distribution systems as strong indicators of their readiness for the next phase of development. Airbus shares ZeroAvia’s vision for a hydrogen-powered aviation future, aiming to introduce a ZEROe hydrogen-powered aircraft into service by 2035.

See also: ZeroAvia Develops High-Performance Compressor for Hydrogen-Electric Aviation Propulsion Systems

The newly acquired funding will be instrumental in accelerating the development of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric propulsion technology as it pursues official certification for commercial flight. The ZA600, the company’s first certified aircraft, is currently undergoing prototype testing and is expected to receive certification by 2025, capable of accommodating up to 20 passengers.

Furthermore, a portion of the funding will be allocated to ZeroAvia’s larger propulsion program, known as the ZA2000, featuring a 2-5.4 MW powertrain designed for larger commercial aircraft. Initial tests are set to commence next year using a retrofitted Dash 8 400 aircraft in partnership with Alaska Airlines, with a capacity to transport 76 passengers, marking a significant step towards achieving emissions-free air travel.

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