• Joe Breitfeller

British Airways Announces Investment in ZeroAvia to Speed up Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft Development

British Airways and a group of investors have invested a total of $24.3 million in ZeroAvia to accelerate the development of a larger hydrogen-electric engine, capable of powering a 50+ seat aircraft by 2026.


Artist's CGI Rendering of ZeroAvia's Future Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft - Courtesy British Airways/ZeroAvia

On Wednesday (March 31, 2021), British Airways announced an investment in ZeroAvia which will accelerate the development of hydrogen-electric powered aircraft technology, with the goal of producing a 50+ seat zero emissions aircraft by 2026. In total, British Airways and a group of investors including Horizons Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures and SYSTEMIQ have invested $24.3 million in the effort. ZeroAvia has already completed the world’s first hydrogen-electric fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft and has now set their sights on scaling the technology. The company believes it can produce a 20-seat aircraft with a range of up to 500 miles by 2024, a 50-seater by 2026 and a 100-seat aircraft by 2030.

In Wednesday’s announcement, British Airways’ CEO, Sean Doyle, said,


“Innovative zero emissions technology is advancing fast and we support the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source because we believe it has the potential to enable us to reach true zero emissions on short-haul routes by 2050. There is a huge amount of energy and excitement building around the possibilities of a zero emissions future for aviation and while there is no single solution to this challenge, we acknowledge the need for urgent action to tackle the impact flying currently has on our planet and are making progress on our journey to net zero.”


Also commenting on the new investment, ZeroAvia’s Founder and CEO, Val Miftakhov, added,


“This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale. With the airline industry lining up and ready to shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology. We are extremely grateful to British Airways and our other investors, who are helping speed up our progress and ultimately the aviation industry's adoption of zero-emission flight.”


ZeroAvia completed the world’s first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial grade aircraft in September 2020. Recently, the company also completed a ground simulation of the complete power profile for its first upcoming cross-country flight. T he test simulated a full battery shutdown inflight, using ZeroAvia’s unique fuel cell powertrain configuration, which will allow for the complete removal of the battery system in the next powertrain configuration.


British Airways’ investment in ZeroAvia follows a previously announced partnership through IAG’s Hangar 51 acceleration program, for the exploration of hydrogen-powered aircraft. British Airways is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and is currently working to improve operational efficiency, flying more fuel-efficient aircraft and introducing carbon offset and removal projects. The airline currently offsets omissions on all flights within the UK and offers customers the option to offset their emissions on longer flights.



Source: British Airways

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