British Airways banks on hydrogen
ZeroAvia, a US-based company working on hydrogen programmes for the aviation sector, said March 31 its efforts were supported by a $24.3mn investment from British Airways.
ZeroAvia announced the launch of a development program that aims to provide a 2-MW hydrogen-electric powertrain for the aviation sector. The new round of funding supports engine development for aircraft with a seating capacity of more than 50 and charts the pathway for hydrogen in the commercial aviation segment.
“With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology,” Val Miftakhov, the founder of ZeroAvia, said.
In October, Airbus, among the world’s largest aviation manufacturers, announced it was targeting green hydrogen as a fuel source for a zero-emission aircraft. While costs are an issue now, the company said that as hydrogen production scales up, it could be competitive against jet fuel.
Sean Doyle, the CEO of British Airways, said that his company set a target of reaching zero-emissions on its short-haul routes by 2050.
“There is a huge amount of energy and excitement building around the possibilities of a zero-emissions future for aviation, and while there is no single solution to this challenge, we acknowledge the need for urgent action to tackle the impact flying currently has on our planet and are making progress on our journey to net zero,” he said.
The announcement from British Airways brings total private investments to more than $53mn for ZeroAvia’s initiatives and total investments since its inception to nearly $74mn.
In 2020, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimated the cost of green hydrogen could be less than $2/kg by the end of the decade, making it competitive against other fuels. Airbus, for its part, estimated the cost of green hydrogen could be about 50% lower than current rates for use as a fuel by 2050.