Hydrogen-electric aviation start-up ZeroAvia just completed an impressive $116 million financing to fuel the company’s development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission engines.
Joining the financing are major players including the UK Infrastructure Bank, which contributed $40 million in its latest funding round, Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and Saudi Arabia’s Neom Investment Fund.
Founded in 2017, ZeroAvia is focused on developing a hydrogen-electric engine to provide vital support for the UK government’s ambitious goal of decarbonizing aviation by 2050. The funds will propel engine development and secure UK regulatory certification by 2025.
The UK Infrastructure Bank’s backing underscores the global interest in hydrogen as a pivotal solution for reducing aviation emissions. While industry discussions vary on the timeline for widespread hydrogen flight adoption, many agree on its critical role for short to medium-haul flights. Coordination across sectors is urged for building infrastructure to achieve a net-zero economy.
Ian Brown, Head of Banking and Investments at the UKIB, stresses the importance of private investment for aviation and hydrogen sectors to attain net-zero goals. He emphasizes that their equity instills confidence in investors, fostering private investment for cutting-edge technology development.
Zero-emissions aircraft are also being developed in the US to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, a percentage that is rising quickly as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Surf Air Mobility Inc. (NYSE:SRFM), a prominent US regional air mobility platform and the largest commuter airline in the US in terms of scheduled departures, is aiming to be the first to commercialize green regional air travel, presenting a major leap forward in sustainable transportation.
The company aims to achieve this transformation by upgrading existing Cessna Grand Caravan with hybrid and fully-electric engines, significantly reducing both the cost and environmental impact of air travel. Surf Air Mobility‘s leadership team, possessing extensive expertise in aviation, electrification, and consumer technology, is spearheading this ambitious initiative.
Reinventing Flying Through the Power of Electrification
Surf Air Mobility Inc. (NYSE:SRFM) has formed an exclusive relationship with Textron Aviation, one of the largest general aviation manufacturers, and placed an order for up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX models. The aircraft are intended to be upgraded to Surf Air Mobility’s proprietary electric or hybrid-electric powertrain technology.
The company also recently entered into a collaboration with Azul S.A., Brazil’s largest airline, to work toward integrating electric Cessna Caravans into Azul’s existing fleet, contributing to Azul’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. Surf Air Mobility plans to certify its proprietary electrified powertrain in the US by 2026.
The landmark agreement between Azul and Surf Air Mobility seeks to accelerate the development and market entry of electric aircraft by jointly addressing technical and regulatory specifications for the electric Cessna Caravan. This cooperation aims to pave the way for the certification of electrified aircraft within Brazil.
Stan Little, CEO of Surf Air Mobility, emphasized the importance of collaborating with operators like Azul to optimize technology deployment within existing regional networks. The partnership is expected to expedite the Supplemental Type Certification process, bringing the technology to market faster and with greater certainty.
Azul, which currently operates 27 Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft at more than 80 destinations in Brazil, is collaborating with Surf Air Mobility on the commercial deployment of fully electric powertrains in Azul’s existing fleet.
This deal will allow Azul to upgrade its fleet once Surf Air Mobility’s technology is developed and certified. The first-generation fully electric powertrain technology will aim to reduce direct operating costs by up to 50% and eliminate 100% of direct carbon emissions. These advancements could potentially significantly impact Azul’s Cessna Caravan network operations.
Flavio Costa, President of Azul Conecta, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, highlighting its importance for the successful development and implementation of electrified aircraft technology. The partnership aims to expedite the certification process, ensuring a swift and secure introduction of this groundbreaking technology to Brazil.
The companies anticipate that electric Cessna Caravans could enhance the economics of Azul’s existing routes, eliminate direct emissions, and potentially enable the launch of new routes that may not be feasible with traditional combustion aircraft. Jamie Strecker, Head of Business Development for Surf Air Mobility, emphasized the potential for electric Cessna Caravans to open new routes and serve a broader audience within Brazil.
Featured Image @ Surf Air Mobility
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