Airbus, Barclays and NEOM co-lead new ZeroAvia funding round
Airbus, Barclays have co-lead ZeroAvia’s latest funding round alongside smart city NEOM.
The hydrogen propulsion system maker said the financing will go towards certification of its ZA600 powertrain. Airbus and ZeroAvia have also agreed to collaborate on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems. The companies intend to work on a number of technical areas, including liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing and development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
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 its commitment to extensive R&D programmes.”
Airbus has recently ground tested a hydrogen engine concept at 1.2 MW power. 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 which puts them in a strong position to take their technologies to the next phase of development.”
ZeroAvia recently completed the first stage of flight testing of the prototype ZA600, targeting 2025 commercial entry for aircraft up to 20 seats.
The funding will also enable ZeroAvia to continue to progress its larger engine programme — the ZA2000, a 2-5.4 MW modular powertrain. It is working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator provided by Alaska Airlines, with a view to first flight testing with a full size engine in 2024.
Andy Challis, co-head of Principal Investments, Barclays, said: “Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen has been identified as a key decarbonisation pathway for hard to abate sectors, such as aviation. ZeroAvia has shown that with ambition, technological innovation and the right support from both the public and private sector, it is possible to scale and implement such hydrogen technologies at pace, as evidenced by the ZA600 moving ever closer to commercial flight.”
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.
Majid Mufti, managing director NEOM Investment Fund, added: “Our focus on maximising 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, and participating in this venture with ZeroAvia was a natural choice for us. We look forward to working closely with the company and contributing significantly to reaching that future.”