Dec 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Bill Gates, Amazon buy stake in clean aviation startup ZeroAvia

Bill Gates.

Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

ZeroAvia, a startup looking to commercialize hydrogen fuel cell-powered aviation, secured over $21 million from backers including the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon and Shell.

Why it matters: Aviation is a substantial source of carbon emissions and finding ways to wring emissions from the sector is a big challenge, so these efforts are worth watching.

Driving the news: "The Series A funds the next phase of the company’s R&D program, which focuses on developing and testing the certification-ready ZA-600 powertrain capable of flying 10-20 seat aircraft up to 500 miles," the announcement states.

The company also said it received $16.3 million from the U.K. government in a bid to make a 19-seat hydrogen-electric plane "market-ready" by 2023.

The big picture: ZeroAvia said that by 2026 it hopes to have technology ready that can enable flights of over 500 in planes with up to 80 seats, and by 2030 extend that to flights of over 1,000 miles in planes with over 100 seats.

Go deeper