Universal Hydrogen secures $20.5m in Series A
Universal Hydrogen has closed a Series A funding round at $20.5m. It was led by Silicon Valley venture fund, Playground Global, with the investor syndicate comprising Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation, and Future Shape.
Universal will use the funding to accelerate the development of its hydrogen logistics network and regional aircraft conversion kits.
The company hopes to build a fuel distribution network that connects hydrogen production directly to aircraft. It plans to do this using modular capsules that are transported using the existing freight network.
It is also developing conversion kits to retrofit existing 40-60 passenger regional aircraft with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. First commercial flights are planned in 2025.
“We see the near-term decarbonisation of regional aviation as a first step and catalyst, setting the industry on a path to meeting Paris Agreement emissions targets,” said Paul Eremenko, Universal Hydrogen co-founder and CEO.
Eremenko said hydrogen is the only viable fuel for “true zero emissions” in commercial aviation.
According to the company: “The current financing round will enable Universal Hydrogen to significantly grow its engineering team, complete a 2 megawatt fuel cell powertrain, and fully test both liquid and gaseous hydrogen capsules. The company is taking additional airline orders for its first several years of commercial deliveries.”
Universal’s chief operating officer, Jason Chua, told delegates at Revolution.Aero Global 2020 that about 80% of the air travel market will be powered by hydrogen in 10 years. Watch the full session below: