American Airlines boosts investment in hydrogen-electric engine maker ZeroAvia

Close up view of an American Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet in flight

Ceri Breeze American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL[1]) announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a conditional purchase agreement with clean aviation innovator ZeroAvia for 100 hydrogen-electric engines. The airline company said the engine purchase was intended to power regional jet aircraft with zero inflight emissions, except for water vapor.

In addition, American (AAL[2]) has increased its investment in ZeroAvia.

Looking back, American made its first investment in ZeroAvia in 2022 and has now also participated in the company's Series C financing round.

ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen-electric engines for commercial aircraft, which offer the potential for close to zero inflight emissions. The company is flight testing a prototype for a 20-seat plane and designing an engine for larger aircraft such as the Bombardier CRJ700, which American operates on certain regional routes. ZeroAvia's hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft's propellers.

The only inflight emission is low-temperature water vapor, and the lower intensity electrical systems have the potential to offer significant cost savings.

"With up to 60 times greater specific energy and lower cycling costs than lithium-ion batteries and numerous advantages over all other decarbonisation solutions, hydrogen-electric powertrains are the only viable, scalable solution for zero-emission aviation," stated ZeroAvia on its website.

American Airlines (AAL[3]) CEO Robert Isom noted that advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion. "This announcement will help accelerate the development of technologies needed to power our industry and uphold our commitment to make American a sustainable airline so we can continue to deliver for customers for decades to come," he added.

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  1. ^ American Airlines Group Inc. (
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  3. ^ American Airlines Group Inc. (