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Are Hydrogen Planes The Future of Air Travel?

December 3, 2023
x min read

Airlines are huge emitters of carbon. But could hydrogen powered aircrafts change that?

What’s happening:

  • Hollister, California based zero emission aviation company ZeroAvia has raised $116M USD in a Series C financing round
  • The new round includes notable venture funds such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizon Ventures, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and others

The big idea:

  • ZeroAvia has developed a first of its kind hydrogen electric engine that can power an aircraft without producing any emissions

Why it matters:

Going deeper:

  • While batteries are possible to electrify automotive transportation, their energy to weight ratio make them impractical to power large commercial aircrafts
  • Hydrogen fuel tanks are crash resistant and are already considered to be safer than traditional liquid fuel tanks that are used by many airline companies
  • Airline giants Airbus and Alaska Airlines are two early backers of ZeroAvia

The intrigue:

  • ZeroAvia recently partnered with Japan Airlines to begin testing hydrogen powered flights on regional routes within Japan

By the numbers:

  • Hydrogen has 100x more energy density than the best electric batteries currently available
  • ZeroAvia has more than 2000 initial pre orders for their hydrogen powered electric engines from airline companies
  • Those pre orders represent a cumulative $10B USD in potential future revenue

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