ZeroAvia today announced that Air­bus, Bar­clays Sus­tain­able Impact Cap­i­tal and NEOM have led the company’s lat­est financ­ing round. 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.

This will enable ZeroAvia to accel­er­ate progress towards cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of its first engine as well as deliv­er­ing the company’s mis­sion of a hydro­gen-elec­tric engine in air­craft.

Air­bus and ZeroAvia will tack­le a num­ber of crit­i­cal tech­ni­cal areas, includ­ing liq­uid hydro­gen fuel stor­age, flight and ground test­ing of fuel cell propul­sion sys­tems, and devel­op­ment of hydro­gen refu­elling infra­struc­ture and oper­a­tions.

ZeroAvia hydro­gen-elec­tric engines store hydro­gen in fuel cells to gen­er­ate elec­tric­i­ty, which is then used to pow­er elec­tric motors turn­ing the aircraft’s pro­pellers with the only emis­sion dur­ing flight being hydro­gen and oxy­gen, pro­duc­ing water vapour.

Air­bus fuel cell sys­tems are an impor­tant part of its ZEROe air­craft con­cepts pro­gramme, designed to deliv­er low-car­bon emis­sion air­frames of var­i­ous sizes, hav­ing recent­ly ground test­ed a 1.2 MW hydro­gen engine con­cept.

The invest­ment will sup­port its first ZA600-20 seat air­craft through to cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, hav­ing recent­ly com­plet­ed the first stage of pro­to­type flight test­ing and tar­get­ted a 2025 entry into ser­vice.

The fund­ing will also enable ZeroAvia to progress its large engine pro­gram, the ZA2000 2–5.4 MW mod­u­lar pow­er­train, designed to sup­port larg­er com­mer­cial air­craft appli­ca­tions.

The com­pa­ny 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.

The invest­ment will help ZeroAvia extend the lead­er­ship it has estab­lished across core in-house tech­nolo­gies for mul­ti-MW class hydro­gen-elec­tric engines, includ­ing high tem­per­a­ture PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced elec­tric motors and pow­er elec­tron­ics, and onboard liq­uid hydro­gen fuel stor­age.

ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Mif­takhov said: “Air­bus has led the way with its zero-emis­sion vision and its com­mit­ment to exten­sive R&D pro­grammes. For ZeroAvia to now have investors such as Air­bus com­ing on board is the strongest pos­si­ble val­i­da­tion of the prospects for hydro­gen-elec­tric propul­sion tech­nol­o­gy.”

Air­bus ZEROe air­craft VP Glenn Llewellyn added: “ZeroAvia has already been suc­cess­ful in flight test­ing fuel cell propul­sion, and hydro­gen stor­age and dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tems on board its Do-228 flight test plat­form, which puts it in a strong posi­tion to take its tech­nol­o­gy to the next devel­op­ment phase. This com­ple­ments our own ambi­tion to bring a ZEROe hydro­gen pow­ered air­craft to ser­vice by 2035.”

Andy Chal­lis, Co-Head of Prin­ci­pal Invest­ments, Bar­clays, con­tin­ued: “Our Sus­tain­able Impact Cap­i­tal port­fo­lio is one of many ways in which Bar­clays is sup­port­ing green-tech com­pa­nies to inno­vate and scale.

“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.”

Majid Mufti, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of NEOM Invest­ment Fund, con­clud­ed: “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.”