Engineering news

United Airlines plans purchase of 100 zero-emission hydrogen engines

Professional Engineering

The agreement includes an anticipated order for 50 ZeroAvia ZA2000-RJ hydrogen-electric engines
The agreement includes an anticipated order for 50 ZeroAvia ZA2000-RJ hydrogen-electric engines

Dozens of United Airlines aircraft could be making zero-emissions flights this decade, after the company invested in British-American hydrogen-electric engine developer ZeroAvia.

The US company became the largest airline to invest in carbon-free hydrogen-electric engines for regional aircraft, with a new $35m equity stake in the hydrogen engine specialist. The money will be used for the development of ZeroAvia’s zero-emission powertrain system.  

The agreement includes an anticipated order for 50 ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option for 50 more. If made in full, the order could provide engines to entirely power 50 twin-engine aircraft as soon as 2028.  

ZeroAvia aims to commercialise its hydrogen propulsion technology by 2024. It is initially targeting a 500-mile range in a 10-20 seat aircraft. The latest funding round is targeted at the next segment of 40-80 seat aircraft, targeting turboprops by 2026 and regional jets by 2028.  

“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,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “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.” 

Want the best engineering stories delivered straight to your inbox? The Professional Engineering newsletter gives you vital updates on the most cutting-edge engineering and exciting new job opportunities. To sign up, click here.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


Read more related articles

Professional Engineering magazine

Professional Engineering app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download our Professional Engineering app

Professional Engineering newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to Professional Engineering newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles