ZeroAvia Secures extra $24.3 m to Kick Off Zero-Emission Larger Engine Development
Propelling their mission towards delivering airlines zero-carbon, hydrogen-fueled flight, ZeroAvia is launching the development program for a 2MW hydrogen-electric powertrain for full-size regional aircraft. The program kick-off is supported by a new raise of $24.3 million, led by Horizons Ventures, joined by a new investor British Airways. Existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ also participated in the financing. This new round accelerates the more considerable hydrogen-electric engine development for the 50+ seat aircraft and supports additional commercial airlines initiatives to adopt hydrogen in aviation. Today's announcement brings the company's total private investment to over $53 million and the total funding raised since inception to nearly $74 million.
This latest funding follows the announcement in December that the UK Government (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK – had awarded a £12.3m grant ($16.3m) to deliver a breakthrough 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft that is market-ready by 2023. The company announced its $21.4 million Series A funding round at the same time, accelerating its 600kW development program scheduled for commercial entry in 2024.
"This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale," said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia. "With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology. We are extremely grateful for our investors who are helping to speed up our progress and ultimately the aviation industry's adoption of zero-emission flight."
ZeroAvia expects to achieve commercialization for its hydrogen-electric powertrain as early as 2024. Its hydrogen aviation solutions will address various markets by initially targeting a 500-mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, package delivery, agriculture, and beyond. Accelerated by this new capital infusion, ZeroAvia will also target entering the 50+ seat commercial aircraft segment by 2026.
"'Flying on jet fuel comes with an environmental cost, and finding an alternative for the aviation industry is vital. We believe ZeroAvia offers a real and practical solution for the aviation market to move towards cleaner options." says Patrick Poon from Horizons Ventures.
The round will also further derisk the company vision of powering a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030. ZeroAvia's achievements to date are the first steps in realizing the near-term transition from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary source for commercial aviation.
"Innovative zero-emissions technology is advancing fast, and we support the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source because we believe it has the potential to enable us to reach true zero emissions on short-haul routes by 2050," Sean Doyle, British Airways' CEO, said. "There is a huge amount of energy and excitement building around the possibilities of a zero-emissions future for aviation, and while there is no single solution to this challenge, we acknowledge the need for urgent action to tackle the impact flying currently has on our planet and are making progress on our journey to net zero."
ZeroAvia offers hydrogen-fueled powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in commercial aircraft. Adoption of this technology results not only in actual zero-emission flight but also in lower fuel and maintenance costs. The company previously completed its first electric flight in the US in 2019, then built the second flying prototype in the UK, and conducted its first electric flight in June of 2020. In September 2020, it achieved the world's first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. Additionally, the company just completed a ground simulation of the complete power profile for its upcoming first cross-country flight. The ground test demonstrated a complete battery shutdown in-flight using its unique fuel cell powertrain configuration, allowing for complete removal of the battery system in the subsequent configuration of the powertrain.