ZeroAvia , the Kemble Airport and USA-based company which is developing hydrogen-electric aircraft, initially targeting 500-mile range in 10–20 seat aircraft, has secured a further $35 million to help develop its 2–5MW zero-emission powertrain system for regional aviation.
United Airlines has invested in ZeroAvia through this round, and the company’s agreement with United anticipates an order for 50 ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option for 50 more. United joins an already announced new investor, Alaska Air Group, in this round, alongside existing investors Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, AP Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Summa Equity, and Shell Ventures. This brings the company’s total investment to date up to $115 million.
ZeroAvia says it is on track to achieve commercialisation for its hydrogen propulsion technology in 2024. Initially, the company is targeting a 500-mile range in a 10–20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, package delivery, agriculture, and beyond. This funding round targets the next segment of 40-80 seat aircraft, targeting turboprops by 2026 and regional jets by 2028. The funding will also allow ZeroAvia to further ramp up presence across its US, UK, and continental Europe locations.
Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia, said: “We are very excited to welcome our new investors, including one of the world’s largest airlines in United, into the ZeroAvia family. As we prepare for ground and flight testing of our first commercial intent product in the coming weeks, this backing by our investors will enable us to accelerate delivery of our engine for larger aircraft. We are tremendously grateful to all our investors who are helping us achieve our mission—a world where every aircraft is powered by hydrogen-electric engines, delivering a true zero-emission future for flying.”
Scott Kirby, CEO of United, said: “Hydrogen-electric engines are one of the most promising paths to zero-emission air travel for smaller aircraft, and this investment will keep United out in front on this important emerging technology. United continues to look for opportunities to not only advance our own sustainability initiatives, but also identify and help technologies and solutions that the entire industry can adopt.”
Kevin Eggers of AP Ventures, said: “Aviation remains crucial to efficient global travel and trade. The resulting carbon emissions are however significant. ZeroAvia offers a credible and compelling pathway to zero-emission aviation, enabling the long-term future of the industry. ZeroAvia is pioneering practical clean aviation solutions in a meaningfully short time frame. We are excited to work alongside established industry companies, such as United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and British Airways to further this historic transformation.”
Over the past few weeks, ZeroAvia has made significant progress towards achieving its goal of zero-emission aviation. This investment round follows significant commercial momentum for the company, including partnerships with Alaska Airlines, Rose Cay, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, ASL Aviation Holdings, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet division and Rotterdam the Hague Airport.
ZeroAvia CEO Val Miftakhov addressed the UK Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, as well as the UK Parliament, calling for a focus on delivering zero-emission aviation as soon as possible to ensure the industry’s climate change impact can be tackled. This followed the company’s second annual Hydrogen Aviation Summit, the largest event examining the future of hydrogen in the sector.