ZeroAvia, one of the leading innovators in decarbonizing commercial aviation globally, has secured $21.4 million in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures to develop zero-emission aircraft.
The US-based startup, which has completed 10 test flights with a six-seater propeller plane powered by hydrogen has received support from the American tech giant Amazon and multinational oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell.
“This is a capital-intensive industry, so having investors to help you through the process is very important,” ZeroAvia Chief Executive Val Miftakhov said, a plane was “a power-hungry machine, especially on takeoff.”
The hydrogen plane startup ZeroAvia has been conducting test flights in Britain with a target to operate commercial flights of up to 500 miles using 10 to 20 seated aircraft by 2023 and commercial jets able to haul up to 200 passengers 3,000 miles by 2030.
With the latest fundraising round, ZeroAvia has obtained $37.7 million (including an additional UK government-backed funding), providing it with enough cash to scale up its technology for larger aircraft. The startup has also joined with British Airways to further explore the possibilities for carriers to shift to hydrogen-powered planes in the future.
Amazon’s financial support comes from its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund which it formulated this year. The tech giant, which aims to run a carbon-neutral business by 2040, has ordered electric vans from Mercedes-Benz and startup Rivian.
The Dutch oil giant’s funds came from its Shell Ventures, a unit which was established with an aim to help growing startups to boost their investments in solar and other renewable energy sources. The Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Horizons Ventures was also among the investors.
The California headquartered startup ZeroAvia was founded in 2018. The company is specialized in building the world’s first practical, zero-emission powertrain for commercial air travel.