Airbus invests in British start-up ZeroAvia, focused on hydrogen propulsion

Financing round included other companies such as Barclays bank. Airbus will collaborate on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems

United Kingdom star-up ZeroAvia has been backed by a major aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. The European group participated in the company’s latest round of financing, which is developing hydrogen propulsion technologies.

The round also included the participation of the companies Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM. ZeroAvia was already supported by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund.

The partnership with Airbus, however, draws attention as the airframer is a devoted supporter of hydrogen propulsion for its upcoming commercial aircraft, from the ZeroE family.

The investment should accelerate the certification of its first hydrogen-powered engine, already in testing.

ZeroE concepts (Airbus)

Airbus will also support ZeroAvia to help make the engine family commercially viable. Among the areas they will work on together are liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.

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The technology used by the company transforms hydrogen cells into electricity, which then rotates the propellers. ZeroAvia has already launched some aircraft converted to use these engines, such as the Dornier 228.

Alaska Airlines Dash 8 that will be converted to hydrogen (AA)

There are two engines currently under development, the ZA600, with up to 750 kW, and which can equip current turboprops such as the DHC-6 Twin Otter, Cessna Caravan and the Dornier 228, and the more powerful ZA2000 (up to 5 MW), designed as alternative for aircraft such as the Dash 8 and ATR 42/72.

The ZA600 is expected to enter service by 2025 while the ZA2000 will be evaluated by a Dash 8-400 supplied by Alaska Airlines and is expected to make its maiden flight in 2024.


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