Hydrogen attracts dollars

ZeroAvia announced December 16 that the firm’s quest to power 19-seat airplanes has been boosted by an influx of $21.4 million in venture capital funding from various investors including the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, along with an additional $16.3 million from the U.K. government through a program set up to propel hydrogen-electric solutions for 19-seat aircraft.

The latest grant and venture capital funding bring the total raised by ZeroAvia to $49.7 million, according to a press release listing ZeroAvia’s base of operations as “London and California.” The funding announcement followed a few days after a new partnership with British Airways, which retired its Boeing 747 fleet four years ahead of schedule with an eye on reduced-emissions options. 

ZeroAvia raised its public profile significantly in 2020, particularly by flying a six-seat Piper M-class airplane retrofitted with its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in Cranfield, England.

ZeroAvia plans to ramp up range and payload capacity rapidly, aiming for initial commercial flights by aircraft with up to 20 seats covering 500 miles “as early as 2023,” according to the December 16 funding announcement. By 2026, ZeroAvia hopes to raise the bar to 80-seat aircraft with a range of more than 500 miles, and power flights of more than 1,000 miles by aircraft with more than 100 seats by 2030.

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