Investment from United to buy hydrogen electric motor

A United Airlines plane shortly after taking off from Madrid, Spain, on September 25, 2021.

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United Airlines took a stake in ZeroAvia, a company focused on powering electric motors using hydrogen fuel cells.

Under the deal, United said it expected to buy up to 100 of ZeroAvia’s ZA2000-RJs – an engine described as zero-emissions and 100% hydro-electric.

The airline said the engines are “expected to be used in pairs as a new power source for existing aircraft in the region.”

United said it plans to pursue a conditional purchase of 50 engines with the option to add another 50. This technology could be retrofitted to aircraft from 2028.

In a statement released Monday, United CEO Scott Kirby said hydrogen electric propulsion is “one of the most promising avenues for zero-emissions travel for smaller aircraft.” “

In a separate announcement, ZeroAvia said it had raised $35 million in funding. Along with United, others participating in the sponsorship round include Alaska Air Group, the person’s investment has been previously announced.

In total, ZeroAvia says it has attracted $115 million in investments from a range of stakeholders including Shell Ventures, Amazon’s Climate Commitment Fund, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

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As sustainability and environmental concerns grow – the World Wildlife Fund describes air travel as “the most carbon-intensive activity an individual can undertake” – the Discussions around aviation are increasingly focused on how new technologies and ideas can cut down on its environmental footprint.

Over the past few years, a number of companies have sought to develop plans and concepts related to the low- and zero-emissions aviation industry.

Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce’s first all-electric plane completed its first flight, into the sky over the UK for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in September 2020, a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft from ZeroAvia made the first flight. The same month witnessed Airbus reveals details of three hydrogen-fueled concept planes, with European aerospace giant announced that they could be operational by 2035.

Despite excitement in some quarters about the potential for new, lower-emission forms of aviation, some in the industry are still worried about how such innovations will evolve in the coming years. next year.

Speaking to CNBC in October, Eg, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is cautious when offering his outlook on new and emerging technologies in the field.

“I think … we should be honest again,” he said. “Definitely, in the next decade… I don’t think you’ll see any – there’s no technology out there that can replace… carbon, jet aviation.”

“I don’t see the emergence of… hydrogen fuel, I do not see the emergence of sustainable fuels, I do not see the emergence of electric propulsion systems, certainly not before 2030,” he added. . Investment from United to buy hydrogen electric motor


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