ZeroAvia, a company specialising in electric aircraft propulsion, has raised another $35 million from investors. ZeroAvia also announced several new collaborations, most notably with United Airlines.
With the new round of funding, ZeroAvia is pushing its total revenue from investors to $115 million. The US$35 million (about 31 million euros) now raised has come together with the help of two new investors – Alaska Airlines and United Airlines – along with the existing investors, Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, AP Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Summa Equity and Shell Ventures.
ZeroAvia plans to use the fresh capital to accelerate the development of its hydrogen-electric propulsion systems in the 2 to 5 MW power class for larger aircraft. As part of its investment, United Airlines also announced plans to purchase up to 100 ZA2000-RJ hydrogen propulsion systems from ZeroAvia. United Airlines cites the 50-seat CRJ550 regional jets operated by its United Express subsidiary as one of the potential applications. The airline expects to be able to retrofit the CRJ550s with the new engines starting in 2028.
Scott Kirby, CEO of United, confirmed: “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.”
Several weeks ago it was revealed that ZeroAvia will also working with the second new investor – Alaska Air Group – to develop an H2 propulsion solution for the De Havilland DHC-8-400 (Q400). This propeller-driven aircraft is also a popular regional aircraft in Europe and can seat up to 76 passengers. ZeroAvia says it is now also working directly with De Havilland Canada. Based on a memorandum of understanding, the two sides have agreed to develop hydrogen engines for both new and in-service aircraft.
ZeroAvia believes it is on track to commercialise its hydrogen propulsion technology by 2024. To date, the company has primarily completed test flights with a converted six-seat Piper M – both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric powered. In addition, ZeroAvia is working on an H2 version of the 19-seat Dornier 228.
As a medium- and long-term strategy, ZeroAvia cites its initial intention to work on ten- to 20-seat aircraft capable of up to 500 miles. However, with the above financing round, the company says it is already targeting the 40- to 80-seat aircraft segment that will follow, aiming for turboprops by 2026 and regional jets by 2028. In this segment, ZeroAvia has also recently partnered with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ). ZeroAvia works with HyPoint for its hydrogen technology.
Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia explains: “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.”
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