Hydrogen-electric aviation solutions startup ZeroAvia announced today it has raised $35 million in its most recent funding round, aimed at helping the company develop its zero-emission powertrain system for regional aviation. New investors in the round included United Airlines and Alaska Air Group, joining existing investors including Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, AP Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Summa Equity, and Shell Ventures. The funding round brings the company’s total investment to date to $115 million.
ZeroAvia focuses on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting a 500-mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial transport, cargo, agriculture, and more. In 2020, the company completed the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered flight of commercial-grade aircraft.
Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia, said:
“We are very excited to welcome our new investors, including one of the world’s largest airlines in United, into the ZeroAvia family. As we prepare for ground and flight testing of our first commercial intent product in the coming weeks, this backing by our investors will enable us to accelerate the delivery of our engine for larger aircraft. We are tremendously grateful to all our investors who are helping us achieve our mission—a world where every aircraft is powered by hydrogen-electric engines, delivering a true zero-emission future for flying.”
United Airlines, now the largest airline to invest in zero-emission, hydrogen-electric engines for regional aircraft, also said that it expects to purchase up to 100 of ZeroAvia’s ZA2000-RJ engines that could be used on existing United Express aircraft by 2028.
Scott Kirby, CEO of United, said:
“Hydrogen-electric engines are one of the most promising paths to zero-emission air travel for smaller aircraft, and this investment will keep United out in front on this important emerging technology. United continues to look for opportunities to not only advance our own sustainability initiatives but also identify and help technologies and solutions that the entire industry can adopt.”
Both United and Alaska Airlines have announced initiatives to invest in low-carbon aviation solutions. For example, earlier this year United Airlines announced an investment in electric aircraft company Heart Aerospace, along with the orders for 200 zero operational emissions aircraft. Earlier this month, the airline also completed the first passenger flight with a 100% sustainable aviation fuel-powered engine. Alaska Airlines also recently launched a new investment arm, Alaska Star Ventures, targeting technologies that will help advance the airline’s net zero emissions goal.