What fuels a start-up company? Money, of course—more important than actual fuel, even for one specializing in finding an alternative way to power aircraft. ZeroAvia aims to develop a commuter aircraft that will be powered by hydrogen. Now it has announced a significant source of fuel for the enterprise as it continues flight testing.
ZeroAvia founder Val Miftakhov announced on September 17 that the company had secured a grant from the UK government to enable its plan to bring zero-emission commercial aviation into reality. The grant, totaling £2.7 million (about $3.3 million) supports the decarbonization of aviation, specifically the move towards zero emissions.
ZeroAvia has focused its effort on creating a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain, known as the HyFlyer project—and this fits right in with the mission of the UK Aerospace Research and Technology program of which the grant forms a part. The program works under the auspices of the Aerospace Technology Institute (which brings together industry, government, and the aerospace system in the UK), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Innovate UK.
The financial resources behind ZeroAvia, the Project HyFlyer group, will match the grant, making the total funding brought to the HyFlyer program in excess of £5 million, or $6.6 million in current exchange rates. To further the program, ZeroAvia will launch operations in Cranfield, England, where key aerospace partners already reside. It plans a testing program that will culminate in a 250-300 nm flight based in the UK on its test bed, a modified Piper Matrix. The 6-seat airplane provides a proof-of-concept platform that the company intends to grow into the 15-20 seat platform aimed at the regional airline market (up to 500 nm). ZeroAvia expects to deliver the aircraft to market in 2022.