Aviation Technology

Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM co-lead ZeroAvia's latest financing round

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ZeroAvia today announced that Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM have co-led the company's latest financing round.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund have also participated in the investment.

This investment will enable ZeroAvia to accelerate progress towards certification of its first engine as well as delivering the company's mission of a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft.

In conjunction with the investment, Airbus and ZeroAvia have agreed to collaborate on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems. The companies also intend to work together on a number of critical technical areas, including liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.

ZeroAvia is pursuing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems as the most environmentally friendly and economically attractive solution to aviation's growing climate change impact. The company's hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft's propellers, with the only byproduct during flight being water.

Airbus is a global leader in fostering alternative propulsion using hydrogen. Fuel cell systems are an important part of its ZEROe aircraft concepts program, designed to deliver low-carbon emission airframes of various sizes. The industry major has recently ground tested a hydrogen engine concept at 1.2 MW power.

The investment will support ZeroAvia's continued growth and technology development, most notably progressing its first product – ZA600 - through to certification. ZeroAvia recently completed the first stage of flight testing of the prototype ZA600 and is moving to complete design work ahead of certification, targeting 2025 entry-in-service to support up to 20 seat aircraft.

The funding will also enable ZeroAvia to continue to progress its larger engine program - the ZA2000, a 2-5.4 MW modular powertrain designed to support larger commercial aircraft applications. The company is working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator provided by Alaska Airlines, with a view to first flight testing with a full size engine in 2024. The investment will help ZeroAvia extend the leadership it has established across core in-house technologies for multi-MW class hydrogen-electric engines, including high temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced electric motors and power electronics, and onboard liquid hydrogen fuel storage.

Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia, said: "Anybody following the development of hydrogen aviation - and its potential to transform the industry - will see this investment as a positive step. Airbus has led the way with its zero-emission vision and its commitment to extensive R&D programs. For ZeroAvia to now have investors such as Airbus coming on board is the strongest possible validation of the prospects for hydrogen-electric propulsion technology."

"ZeroAvia has already been successful in flight testing fuel cell propulsion, and hydrogen storage and distribution systems on board their Do-228 flight test platform which puts them in a strong position to take their technologies to the next phase of development," said Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus Vice President ZEROe aircraft. "In addition, ZeroAvia is supporting the development of a wider hydrogen ecosystem for aviation - technologies, decarbonised hydrogen supply and certification of hydrogen propulsion systems - which all complement well with our own ambition to bring a ZEROe hydrogen powered aircraft to service by 2035."

Andy Challis, Co-Head of Principal Investments, Barclays, said: "Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen has been identified as a key decarbonisation pathway for hard to abate sectors, such as aviation. Our Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio is one of many ways which Barclays is supporting green-tech companies to innovate and scale, recognising that doing so at speed is crucial for a timely transition to net zero. ZeroAvia has shown that with ambition, technological innovation and the right support from both the public and private sector, it is possible to scale and implement such hydrogen technologies at pace, as evidenced by the ZA600 moving ever closer to commercial flight. We're delighted to be making a follow-on investment and look forward to seeing ZeroAvia continuing to drive change in the aviation sector."

Majid Mufti, Managing Director NEOM Investment Fund, said: "At NEOM, we are committed to identifying and implementing sustainable solutions that pave the way for a greener future. Our focus on maximizing renewable energy sources and fostering innovation in alternative fuel systems aligns with ZeroAvia's pioneering efforts in hydrogen-electric propulsion technology. Developing a green hydrogen future is central to NEOM's mission, and participating in this venture with ZeroAvia was a natural choice for us. We look forward to working closely with the company and contributing significantly to reaching that future."

About ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation as the initially targeting a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by the end of 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. Based in the US and the UK, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its three prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, secured a number of key partnerships with major aircraft OEMs, secured pre-orders for nearly 2,000 engines from a number of the major global airlines, with future revenue potential over $10bn. ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government's Jet Zero Council.

About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2022 it generated revenues of € 58.76 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world's leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

About Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital

As part of the firm's broader commitments, Barclays will invest £500m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, innovative, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.  Investments will be strategic to Barclays, its clients and the communities it serves, with clear scalable propositions that deliver both environmental benefits and economic returns.

About NEOM

NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like. It is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future. It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation.

NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity.

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