Hydrogen-electric aviation solutions startup ZeroAvia today announced that it has $116 million, with proceeds to be used to advance the company’s efforts to enable zero-emission commercial aviation.

Founded in 2018 in California, ZeroAvia develops hydrogen electric engines for airplanes. It expects to offer engines to support 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. It has secured experimental certificates to test its engines in three separate testbed aircraft with the FAA and CAA and passed significant flight test milestones.

The company said that the new funding will accelerate the its journey to certification of its first zero-emissions aircraft engines and advance R&D that will scale the clean propulsion technology for larger aircraft, as well as supporting ZeroAvia’s growth plans in the UK.

Val Miftakhov, Founder & CEO, ZeroAvia said:

“ZeroAvia has grown rapidly in the UK as we have worked to deliver two major historic milestones in aerospace engineering as we look to preserve the benefits of flight through clean propulsion. This backing by such a preeminent investor as the UK Infrastructure Bank will help us deliver the first commercial zero-emission flights, and help the UK realise substantial export potential.”

UK Infrastructure Bank and co-leads Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM Investment Fund led the round. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund also participated in the funding. 

The UK aims to decarbonize aviation by 2050 and seek to support the development of new clean propulsion technologies to be flying between UK airports this decade. Around a quarter of UK carbon emissions are predicted to come from aviation in 2050. As one of the fastest growing sectors and one of the most challenging to decarbonize, aviation contributes the equivalent of more than 38 million tons of CO2 from international and domestic journeys starting and ending in the UK.

While many initiatives are currently targeting areas allowing for more rapid sector decarbonization, such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), hydrogen is viewed by some in the industry as a more promising long-term solution, given its potential to be produced through carbon-free methods, and its energy density attributes.

Ian Brown, Head of Banking & Investments at the UK Infrastructure Bank, said:

“Aviation and hydrogen are sectors that need significant private investment to get to net zero. By providing confidence to investors, our equity has helped to crowd in the private investment needed for the continued development of this cutting-edge technology and should help stimulate the development and deployment of hydrogen technology across other hard to decarbonise sectors.”