British Airways has invested in ZeroAvia in an effort to accelerate the development of 50+ seater aircraft capable of running on zero emissions hydrogen-electric power.
The flag-carrier had previous struck a partnership with the company.
Now, British Airways and a group of investors including Horizons Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and Systemiq have invested a total of $24.3 million.
It is hoped the cash will enable ZeroAvia to launch a new development programme to further demonstrate the credibility of its technology and accelerate the development of a larger hydrogen-electric engine, capable of flying further and using larger aircraft as soon as 2026.
ZeroAvia says it could achieve commercialisation for its hydrogen-electric power as early as 2024, with flights of up to 500-miles in up to 20-seater aircraft.
With this new investment, ZeroAvia expects to have 50+ seat commercial aircraft in operation in five years’ time and it accelerates the company’s vision of powering a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.
Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive, 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.”
In September 2020, ZeroAvia achieved the world’s first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial-grade aircraft.
Additionally, the company just completed a ground simulation of the complete power profile for its upcoming first cross-country flight.
The ground test demonstrated a full battery shutdown in-flight using the company’s unique fuel cell powertrain configuration, allowing for complete removal of the battery system in the next configuration of the powertrain.