ZeroAvia Secures Additional $21.4 Million in Venture and $16.3 Million in Grant Funding to Accelerate its Hydrogen-Electric Powertrain Solutions for Zero-Emission Airplanes
16 December, 2020, 08:00 BST
— Investments from Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Summa Equity.
— Approval of additional grant funding of $16.3 million from Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK.
— Partnership with British Airways, through Hanger 51 Accelerator to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying.
Hollister, Calif., December 16, 2020 — ZeroAvia’s mission to transition the world to zero-emission, hydrogen-fueled flight picked up a significant tailwind today as the startup announced $21.4 million in new funding in a Series A round. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the raise, with follow-on investors Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Summa Equity. In addition, the company established a partnership with British Airways and received approval for new UK government funding through the ATI Programme to deliver an additional $16.3 million of non-dilutive funding breakthrough 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft that is market-ready by 2023. Today’s announcement brings the total new funding to $37.7 million and the total funding since inception to $49.7 million.
The fundraise allows ZeroAvia to accelerate the development of its hydrogen-electric powertrain further. The Series A funds the next phase of the company’s R&D program, which focuses on developing and testing the certification-ready ZA-600 powertrain capable of flying 10-20 seat aircraft up to 500 miles. The investment comes on the heels of the company completing the UK’s first-ever commercial-scale battery-electric flight in June 2020 and the first flight of the largest hydrogen fuel cell aircraft in September 2020 as part of the innovative HyFlyer I project. ZeroAvia expects a long-distance flight of 250 miles in the next three months.
ZeroAvia offers the first practical hydrogen-fueled powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in propeller aircraft resulting in zero-emission and lower noise and dramatically lower fuel and maintenance costs and significant total trip cost reduction. Focused on hydrogen aviation solutions that address various markets, ZeroAvia expects to achieve commercialization as early as 2023 and demonstrate flights up to 500 miles in aircraft up to 20 seats. By 2026, ZeroAvia intends to realize flights over 500 miles range in aircraft with up to 80 seats, and by 2030 over 1,000-mile flights in aircraft with over 100 seats.
Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, said:
“Our most recent milestone achievements are closing the gap for the airline industry to begin its transition away from fossil fuels. In fact, over ten forward-looking airlines are now gearing up to implement our powertrains when they are ready in 2023. Both aviation and the financial markets are waking up to the idea that hydrogen is the only meaningful path towards large-scale, zero-emission commercial flight. Powering a 100-seat plane on hydrogen is not out of the question. We feel deeply grateful to our top-tier investors for joining us in the next phase of our exciting journey; to bring in a new golden age of aviation.”
Devin Whatley, managing partner at Ecosystem Integrity Fund, said:
“We see tremendous potential for hydrogen to decarbonize transportation, a core focus of our investment strategy. With aviation being such a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and also one of the trickiest areas to decarbonize, we believe ZeroAvia offers the only near-term solution to sustainable aviation and has already made significant progress toward achieving this goal. We are excited to see how they continue to grow and develop with our support.”
Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, said:
“Hydrogen fuel is a critical component in the transition to a sustainable economy—particularly in the airline industry, which is on track to become one of the largest contributors to climate change. ZeroAvia's hydrogen-electric power train offers a realistic solution for long-range commercial flights and has already been demonstrated in commercial-scale aircraft. We look forward to working with them on this mission and decarbonizing aviation together.”
Kara Hurst, VP Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon, said:
"Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement ten years early—achieving net zero carbon by 2040. ZeroAvia’s zero-emission aviation powertrain has real potential to help decarbonize the aviation sector, and we hope this investment will further accelerate the pace of innovation to enable zero-emission air transport at scale."
Elisabeth Brinton, Executive Vice President New Energies at Shell, said:
“In their respective journeys towards net-zero emissions, each industry faces its own unique challenges. ZeroAvia’s work in hydrogen pushes the limits of the imagination—and brings the aviation industry a small step closer to the possibility of net zero-emissions flights. This is innovation at its finest, and Shell is excited to support it.”
The funding is on the heels of a partnership with British Airways in a project to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying. With sustainability of increasing importance at British Airways, the collaboration will embed ZeroAvia in the heart of the airline to work alongside mentors and experts to explore the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen to power the airline’s future fleet. The partnership forms part of the International Airlines Group’s industry-leading Hangar 51 accelerator programme.
ZeroAvia was also recently recognized as a TIME Best Invention of 2020 in the experimental category and secured a spot on the Cleantech Group’s 2020 50TOWATCH list, which awards early-stage private companies delivering innovative solutions to combat the climate crisis. Additionally, the company has secured spots in the top sustainability and aerospace accelerators Elemental Excelerator and Starburst aerospace accelerator.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting 500 mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, package delivery, agriculture, and more. Based in London and California, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft across the US and the UK regulatory environments, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operations in 2023. The company’s expanding UK operations are partially supported by the grants from UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council. For more, please visit ZeroAvia.com, follow @ZeroAvia on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
About Ecosystem Integrity Fund:
Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) invests in early growth-stage companies contributing to environmental sustainability across multiple sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, green chemistry, transportation, agriculture, and water. EIF takes a systems-based approach to sustainability investment, studying both the drivers for change as well as the constraints to innovation in market niches that are ripe for development. EIF invests in companies solving real problems, resulting in better investment opportunities and greater impact. For more information, visit: www.ecosystemintegrity.com
About Breakthrough Energy Ventures:
Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) invests in companies that leverage innovative technologies to help address climate change. Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has more than $1 billion in committed capital to support bold entrepreneurs building companies that can significantly reduce emissions from agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation. The fund was created in 2016 by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.