The race to decarbonize aviation got a boost this Earth Day with the proclamation of a $20.5 million Successions A round by Universal Hydrogen, a Los Angeles-based startup aiming to develop hydrogen storage mixtures and alteration packages for commercial aircraft.
“Hydrogen is the only workable direction for aviation to reach Paris Agreement targets and help limit global warming, ” said founder and CEO Paul Eremenko in an interview with TechCrunch. “We are going to build an end-to-end hydrogen value chain for aviation by 2025. ”
The round was led by Playground Global, with an investor syndicate including Fortescue Future Manufacture, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation and Future Shape.
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The company’s first commodity will be lightweight modular capsules to bring “green hydrogen, ” produced using renewable superpower to aircraft furnished with hydrogen ga cadres. The vessels will ultimately be available in different sizes for aircraft ranging from VTOL air taxis to long-distance, single-aisle planes.
“We want them to be interchangeable within each class of aircraft, a bit like shopper batteries today, ” says Eremenko.
To help kickstart the market for its sheaths, Universal Hydrogen is developing one such airliner itself, a qualified 40 -6 0-seat turboprop capable of regional flights of up to 700 miles. The try is a collaboration with grain investor Plug Power, which will supply the hydrogen and ga cadres, and magniX, which develops motors for electrical aircraft.
Eremenko hopes to have the plane flying paying passengers in a greater, 50 -plus seater aircraft by 2025 and eventually to produce packs for regional airlines to retrofit their own aircraft.
“We want to have a couple of years of service to de-risk hydrogen certification and fare agreement before Boeing and Airbus decide on the airplanes they are going to build in the early 2030 s, ” says Eremenko. “It’s imperative that at least one of them build a hydrogen airplane or aviation is not going to smacked its atmosphere goals.”
Universal Hydrogen is not alone in wager on hydrogen. ZeroAvia in the U.K. is developing its own regional gasoline cadre aircraft on an even more ambitious timeline, and Airbus in particular has been working on hydrogen aircraft concepts.
Eremenko hopes that producing a simple and safe hydrogen logistics network will soon attract brand-new entrants.
“It’s like the Nespresso system. We have to become the first coffee maker or nothing cares about our sheath technology, but we don’t want to be in the coffee maker business. We want other people to build coffee with our capsules.”
Universal Hydrogen will use the Series A funds to grow its current 12 -person team to around 40 and accelerate its technology development.
30kW sub-scale demonstration of Universal Hydrogen’s aviation powertrain, with Plug Power’s hydrogen gasoline cell and a magniX motor.
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