Monday, December 4, 2023

ZeroAvia acquires leading fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint

Hydrogen-electric propulsion system developer ZeroAvia announced that it has acquired in full the leading fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint.

The acquisition adds HyPoint’s advanced high-temperature fuel cell technology – a promising avenue for increasing power output and energy density of aviation fuel cell powertrains – to ZeroAvia’s already leading expertise in developing the full powertrain to enable hydrogen-electric flight. All 40 HyPoint team members will be integrated into ZeroAvia, across its multiple locations while HyPoint’s CEO Alex Ivanenko starts his role as GM for VTOL and New Segments at ZeroAvia.

The new segment will develop ZeroAvia’s rotorcraft business applications and explore other applications outside of ZeroAvia’s core focus on fixed-wing commercial aviation. Over the past couple of years, the two companies have worked increasingly closely together on turbo-air-cooled HTPEM (high-temperature proton exchange membrane) hydrogen fuel cell technology. In February 2022, HyPoint relocated the bulk of its R&D into the UK to support the partnership.

HyPoint has garnered recognition as an innovator developing technology with the potential to significantly expedite the introduction of fuel cell propulsion into larger aircraft. This early partnership was part of ZeroAvia’s work within the HyFlyer II program, supported by the UK’s ATI Programme.

“We see this as a significant forward step for ZeroAvia, and a hugely important strategic step to strengthen our leadership position in hydrogen-electric powertrain development for aviation,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and Founder, ZeroAvia. “There are no other organizations with the breadth of expertise and world-leading IP in hydrogen-electric aviation that we now have within the company. This acquisition, together with our long-standing partnership with the leading LTPEM (low-temperature PEM) fuel cell maker PowerCell, puts us in the top position for delivering the most environmentally and economically attractive solution to aviation’s growing climate impact.”

This new development comes on the heels of the announcement of a major deal with ZeroAvia’s long-term fuel cell partner PowerCell which will see the serial delivery of hydrogen fuel stacks beginning in 2024.

ZeroAvia is currently preparing to start flight testing a converted Dornier 228 twin turboprop. The startup aims to secure approval for conversions through supplemental type certificate (STC) in time for a nine- to 19-seat aircraft to start commercial flights over a 300-mile range by 2025, increasing to a 700-mile range in a 40- to 80-seat aircraft by 2027. Eventually, it wants to develop a 1.8-MW system that could power airliners with up to 80 seats.