A company with a mission to move the world to zero-emission, hydrogen-fueled flight, has just received some corporate funding in the form of a new $21.4 million cash infusion that could see carbon emissions that cause global warming being cut big time.
Powering Zero Carbon: Hydrogen
ZeroAvia got the funds to fuel its vision from a consortium of Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the Ecosystem Integrity Fund, which led the company’s latest round, alongside previous investors Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Summa Equity.
Thank you to @EcosystemFund for being a lead investor in our recent $21.4 million Series A! Together we will replace conventional engines in propeller aircraft with our practical hydrogen-fueled powertrains. pic.twitter.com/1R1gzgx0PA
— ZeroAvia (@ZeroAvia) December 16, 2020
“I’m a big believer in hydrogen from the perspective that if I have enough zero carbon hydrogen, and it’s cheap enough, then I can do anything,” said Eric Toone, the executive managing director and science lead Breakthrough Energy Ventures and was reported by techcrunch.com
The news report quoted industry backers who think that ZeroAvia may also be the ticket to solving many of the aviation industry’s problems. The company has established a partnership with British Airways and received a $16.3 million grant from the UK government to ensure that its 19-seat hydrogen-electric airplane is ready for the market by 2023.
Longtime investor Shell Ventures doubled down on its commitment to ZeroAvia with this round, on the back of the company’s unique approach to integrating various proven technologies to bring hybrid hydrogen-electric flight to market.
“Each individual component is not unique in a sense. The powertrain is not unique, the fuel system isn’t unique… [But] bringing it all together in a system, is not just technically getting a plane in the sky but having those conversations with regulators about what do we need to change and all the steps involved in getting to a commercial play,” said Paul Bogers, the vice president of Hydrogen at Shell.
Company Begins Test Flights
ZeroAvia is now developing and testing the certification-ready ZA-600 powertrain, which can fly a 10-20 seat aircraft up to 500 miles, the company said. And earlier this year the company completed the first commercial-scale battery electric flight and the first flight of a hydrogen fuel cell powered aircraft in September. The company said it would expect to complete a long-distance flight of 250 miles within the next three months.
For Val Miftakhov, the founder and chief executive of ZeroAvia and a serial entrepreneur whose last company, eMotorWerks, was sold to Enel, the flights prove out his thesis that hydrogen power is the answer for the aviation industry.