MIAMI – British Airways (BA) invests in ZeroAvia to promote the production of 50+ seater aircraft powered by a zero-emission hydrogen-electric engine.
BA and a consortium of investors including Horizons Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Environment Honesty Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ have invested a total of US$24.3m in ZeroAvia, a leader in decarbonizing commercial aviation.
ZeroAvia claims that will introduce its hydrogen-electric power to the commercial market as early as 2024. That powerplant is capable to fly up to 20-seater planes over a range of 500-mile. In addition, the company plans to introduce an engine for 50+ seat commercial aircraft in five years as a result of this recent investment.
Furthermore, the investment and developments thereof will help the company meet its goal of powering a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.
British Airways is also researching the use of carbon capture technologies and investing in the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and more fuel-efficient aircraft. As a result, BA’s new investment reflects a broad range of short, medium, and long-term programs aimed at achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Comments from British Airways, ZeroAvia
According to the media release by BA, Sean Doyle, BA’s CEO 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.”
On his part, Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia said, “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.
Miftakhov added, “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.”
Towards Zero Emission
ZeroAvia flew the world’s first commercial-grade hydrogen-electric plane in September 2020. Furthermore, the organization has recently completed a ground simulation of the entire power profile for its very first cross-country flight. The ground tests revealed a full battery shutdown in-flight using the company’s special fuel cell powertrain design. As a result, it allows complete replacement of the battery system in its next powertrain configuration.
British Airways’ investment in ZeroAvia comes on the heels of the two companies’ new alliance, which was revealed at the end of last year. Via its parent company’s International Airlines Group’s (IAG) Hangar 51 accelerator program, the airline collaborated with ZeroAvia on a project to investigate how hydrogen-powered aircraft would play a leading role in the future of sustainable flight.
Said project established financial, network, and market appeal benefits, as well as strong environmental advantages.
Featured image: British Airways/ZeroAvia