Gates and Bezos-backed clean energy funds help power startup building hydrogen-fueled aircraft – GeekWire
ZeroAvia, an aviation startup aiming to power cleaner airplanes with hydrogen, has raised $21.4 million in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures as well as Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.
The California-based company said Wednesday it is using the money to accelerate the development of its hydrogen-electric powertrain to help with the transition to zero-emission commercial aircraft. ZeroAvia has been conducting test flights in the UK, including the first-ever commercial-scale battery-electric test flight over the summer.
The company says hydrogen-fueled powertrain technology replaces conventional engines in propeller aircraft resulting in zero emissions, lower noise, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and total trip cost reduction. It expects to offer commercial flights of up to 500 miles in aircraft with 10 to 20 seats by 2023. The size of the aircraft and distance capability increases over time, with plans for a jet capable of carrying 200 passengers 300 miles by 2030.
ZeroAvia also secured an additional $16.3 grant from the UK government and has a partnership with British Airways to accelerate how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was created in 2016 by Gates and other tech leaders as a $1 billion fund to invest in zero-carbon energy technologies. Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund was announced by CEO Jeff Bezos in June as a way to also invest in startups focused on sustainable technologies.
Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures and Summa Equity also participated in the Series A round.
“Our most recent milestone achievements are closing the gap for the airline industry to begin its transition away from fossil fuels,” ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov said in a statement. “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.”