ZeroAvia secures £12.3M UK Government grant to bring 19-seat hydrogen-electric aviation powertrain to market; HyFlyer II
ZeroAvia, an innovator in decarbonizing commercial aviation, secured £12.3 million (US$16.6 million) in UK Government funding through the ATI Program to deliver a breakthrough 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft that is market-ready by 2023: the HyFlyer II project.
To accomplish this, ZeroAvia will collaborate with two partners, the European Marine Energy Centre and Aeristech. The HyFlyer II project will conclude with another world’s first hydrogen-electric flight by ZeroAvia in a 19-seat aircraft, with a 350-mile flight, in early 2023.
The Government support for ZeroAvia’s 19-seat program comes as the company also announces £16 million ($21.6 million) in Series A venture funding.
The grant award follows ZeroAvia’s world first flight of a commercial-grade hydrogen-electric aircraft at Cranfield in September (earlier post), utilizing a smaller version of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in a 6-seat Piper Malibu M350. This earlier flight was a milestone for the first HyFlyer project, which was also supported with a grant from the ATI Program.
HyFlyer II will build on this success by bringing to market the first hydrogen-electric powertrain suitable for aircraft of up to 19-seats by 2023. Typically, up to 19-seat aircraft such as the Cessna 208 Caravan and the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter are used in regional aviation and cargo transport worldwide. ZeroAvia’s 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain is platform-agnostic and will begin to make zero carbon flight over meaningful distances a reality for passengers.
The announcements of the HyFlyer II program and Series A investment come just days after British Airways announced a partnership with ZeroAvia to speed up the switch to hydrogen-powered aircraft as part of IAG’s Hangar 51 tech accelerator program. (Earlier post.)
Hydrogen fuel-cell technology has been acknowledged by aerospace leaders and majors such as the European Regions Airlines Association and Airbus as the most practical way of rapidly removing carbon emissions from aviation.
For the HyFlyer II project, ZeroAvia is working again with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to deliver the green hydrogen fueling systems required to power the aircraft for flight tests, including through mobile fueling platforms suited to airport environments.
HyFlyer II is an important next step for ZeroAvia’s sequential R&D pathway to realising the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary energy source for commercial aviation. Eventually, and without any new fundamental science required, hydrogen-powered aircraft will match the flight distances and payload of the current fossil fuel aircraft.
Recently, ZeroAvia was also invited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join the UK’s Jet Zero Council and help lead the UK towards the ambitious goal of achieving the first ever zero emission long haul passenger flight.
ZeroAvia predicts its hydrogen-electric powertrain will have lower operating costs than its jet-fueled competition due to lower fuel and maintenance costs, in addition to reducing the air pollution today’s aircraft emit.
As the company commercializes its technology starting in 2023, ZeroAvia plans to offer hydrogen fuel production and supply for its powertrains, and other commercial customers, substantially improving fuel availability and reducing pricing risks for the entire market.