American Airlines has announced an investment in ZeroAvia, which is developing hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation.
The deal also includes a memorandum of understanding that will allow the airline to order up to 100 engines for regional jet aircraft with zero emissions.
“Our investment in ZeroAvia’s emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation,” said Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer. “We are excited to contribute to this industry development and look forward to exploring how these engines can support the future of our airline as we build American Airlines to thrive forever.”
ZeroAvia is working on certifications for its ZA2000-RJ powertrain, which it says could enable zero-emission regional flights by the late 2020s.
“Having support from the world’s largest airline is a strong indication of the progress we’re making on the development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission flight,” added ZeroAvia Founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. “We are focused on delivering sustainable travel, and are delighted that American, a visionary leader in the industry, sees ZeroAvia as a part of the future of aviation.”
ZeroAvia has bases in the UK and the USA, and is initially targeting nine to nineteen seater aircraft with a 300 mile range, which it hopes to build by 2024. Two years later, in 2026, it's aiming to build a 40-80 seat aircraft with a 700 mile range. It's secured experimental certificates for two prototypes, and the investment from American Airlines comes after it raised $150m in Series B funding, as well as grants from the UK's Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.
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