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Home » Aviation Sustainability » ZeroAvia’s Financing Round for Hydrogen-Electric Engine Co-lead by Airbus, Barclays, and NEOM

ZeroAvia’s Financing Round for Hydrogen-Electric Engine Co-lead by Airbus, Barclays, and NEOM

ZeroAvia has announced that Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and NEOM have co-led the company’s latest financing round. Additionally, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures, and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund have also participated in the investment.

ZeroAvia Dornier test aircraft.

Collaborating with Airbus on Certification

ZeroAvia has received an infusion of investment, which will greatly expedite the certification process for their groundbreaking hydrogen-electric engine. The company’s ultimate goal is to introduce hydrogen-electric engines into every aircraft.

Furthermore, Airbus and ZeroAvia have formed a collaboration to develop innovative approaches to certify hydrogen power systems. In addition, the two companies will work closely on crucial technical aspects. These include storing liquid hydrogen fuel, testing fuel cell propulsion systems in-flight and on the ground, and developing hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.

The Hydrogen Promise

ZeroAvia is dedicated to mitigating aviation’s impact on climate change by focusing on hydrogen-electric propulsion systems. Their approach involves using hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which then powers electric motors that turn the aircraft’s propellers. Water is the only byproduct produced during flight, making it an environmentally friendly and economically viable solution.

Airbus, a leading player in promoting alternative propulsion with hydrogen, is actively involved in developing fuel cell systems. They have a program called ZEROe aircraft concepts, which aims to create low-carbon emission airframes of different sizes. Recently, Airbus conducted ground tests for a 1.2 MW hydrogen engine concept. This investment will support ZeroAvia’s growth and technological advancements, particularly the certification process of its first product, ZA600.

First Stage of Flight Testing Completed

ZeroAvia recently completed the first stage of flight testing of the prototype ZA600. It is moving to complete design work ahead of certification, targeting 2025 entry-in-service to support up to 20-seat aircraft. The funding will also enable ZeroAvia to advance its larger engine program – the ZA2000. This 2-5.4 MW modular powertrain is designed to support larger commercial aircraft applications.

Dash 8 Demonstrator Provided by Alaska Airlines

The company is working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator provided by Alaska Airlines. The plan is for the first flight testing with a full-size engine in 2024. The investment will help ZeroAvia extend its established leadership across core in-house technologies for multi-MW class hydrogen-electric engines. These include high-temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced electric motors and power electronics, and onboard liquid hydrogen fuel storage.

A Positive Step to Transform the Industry

Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia, said: “Anybody following the development of hydrogen aviation – and its potential to transform the industry – will see this investment as a positive step. Airbus has led the way with its zero-emission vision and commitment to extensive R&D programs. For ZeroAvia to have investors like Airbus on board is the strongest possible validation of the prospects for hydrogen-electric propulsion technology.”

A Strong Position for Further Development

Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus Vice President ZEROe aircraft, said: “ZeroAvia has already been successful in flight testing fuel cell propulsion and hydrogen storage and distribution systems on board their Do-228 flight test platform. This puts them in a strong position to take their technologies to the next development phase. ZeroAvia is also supporting the development of a wider hydrogen ecosystem for aviation—technologies, decarbonized hydrogen supply, and certification of hydrogen propulsion systems. All complement our ambition to bring a ZEROe hydrogen-powered aircraft to service by 2035.”

A Key Decarbonization Pathway

Andy Challis, Co-Head of Principal Investments, Barclays, said: “Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen has been identified as a key decarbonization pathway for hard-to-abate sectors, such as aviation. Our Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio is one of many ways Barclays supports green-tech companies to innovate and scale. We recognize that doing so at speed is crucial for a timely transition to net zero. ZeroAvia has shown that with ambition, technological innovation, and the right public and private sector support, it can scale and implement such hydrogen technologies at pace. This is evidenced by the ZA600 moving ever closer to commercial flight. We’re delighted to be making a follow-on investment and look forward to seeing ZeroAvia continue driving change in the aviation sector.”

A Focus on Renewable Energy

Majid Mufti, Managing Director of NEOM Investment Fund, said: “At NEOM, we are committed to identifying and implementing sustainable solutions that pave the way for a greener future. Our focus on maximizing renewable energy sources and fostering innovation in alternative fuel systems aligns with ZeroAvia’s pioneering efforts in hydrogen-electric propulsion technology. Developing a green hydrogen future is central to NEOM’s mission. Participating in this venture with ZeroAvia was our natural choice. We look forward to working closely with the company and contributing significantly to reaching that future.”

About ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia is a pioneering force in the field of zero-emission aviation. Their primary focus lies in hydrogen-electric aircraft. The company has set ambitious goals of achieving a range of 300 miles for 9 to 19-seat planes by 2025 and up to 700 miles for 40 to 80-seat aircraft by 2027. With headquarters in both the United States and the United Kingdom, ZeroAvia has already obtained experimental certificates for their three prototype aircraft from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They have successfully passed significant flight test milestones and established partnerships with aircraft OEMs. Furthermore, ZeroAvia has received impressive pre-orders for nearly 2,000 engines from major global airlines, with projected revenue exceeding $10 billion. Their anticipated timeline is to kick off commercial operations in 2025. Notably, ZeroAvia is associated with the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council, highlighting their dedication to achieving carbon neutrality in aviation.

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