American Airlines invests in company that makes hydroelectric engines

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American Airlines invests in company that makes hydroelectric engines
Photo Credit: ZeroAvia

American Airlines has become an investor in ZeroAvia, a developer of hydroelectric aircraft engines.

In addition, the companies have entered an agreement giving American the option to order up to 100 ZeroAvia zero-emissions engines for regional aircraft.

The company is targeting 2024 for its first commercial offering of aircraft with nine to 19 seats. The planes will have a range of 300 nautical miles. In 2026, ZeroAvia plans to produce 40- to 80-seat planes with a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles. By 2040 ZeroAvia hopes to have developed a 200-plus seat aircraft with the range to cross oceans. 

Hydrogen-electric engines rely on electricity created by a chemical reaction in a fuel cell to power an electric motor.  

American joins several other prominent airlines and energy companies that have invested in ZeroAvia, including Alaska Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, Shell, Amazon and the U.K.'s Aerospace Technology Institute. 

The investment follows other recent sustainability efforts by American, including reaching an agreement in July to purchase 500 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Gevo.

Also in July, American took delivery of the industry's first batch of sustainable fuel that is certified under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Under CORSIA, airlines in participating countries, including the U.S., are required to offset all emissions that exceed their 2019 level.

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