American Airlines Collaborates with ZeroAvia for 100 Hydrogen-electric Engines Deal

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American Airlines has agreed to a provisional agreement for 100 hydrogen-electric engines from aviation startup ZeroAvia to power aircraft operated on regional flights, the company announced on Tuesday. The airline also upped its stake in the Hollister, California-based startup as part of its Series C funding round, but did not reveal the specifics.

In 2022, American invested and signed a memorandum of understanding with ZeroAvia, which is now flight testing a prototype for a 20-seat jet. The business is also developing an engine for larger aircraft, such as the Bombardier (OTC:BDRBF) CRJ700, which is operated by American on select regional flights.

ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines have the potential to produce near to zero in-flight emissions by using hydrogen in fuel cells to power electric motors that turn an aircraft’s propellers. Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion,” American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) CEO Robert Isom said in a statement.

The airline has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Hydrogen is seen as a potential option for the aviation sector, which relies heavily on fossil fuels. It can be produced from fossil fuels or water via electrolysis, albeit this is a costly method.

Hydrogen-electric powertrains are the only realistic, scalable solution for zero-emission aviation, with up to 60 times greater specific energy and lower cycling costs than lithium-ion batteries, as well as several benefits over all other decarbonization alternatives.

Hydrogen-electric power is the best long-term solution for clean aviation. Hydrogen-electric engines are a superior propulsion method, providing reduced fuel and maintenance costs, zero emissions, and commercial ranges even when retrofitted. Zeroavia is developing technologies to drive a golden age of clean aviation.

Its committed team of over 250 personnel is focused on hydrogen-electric propulsion and fueling solutions for a number of markets, with the initial goal of achieving a 300-mile range in 9-19 seat aircraft by the end of 2025 and up to 700-mile range in 40-80 seat aircraft by 2027.ZeroAvia is creating the first viable zero-emission powertrain for commercial aviation, with the goal of incorporating hydrogen-electric engines into every aircraft, resulting in real zero-emission flights. It will allow numerous industries to shift to zero-emission operations within the next decade.

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