Saudi Arabia's flagship business zone NEOM participated in Series B fund funding round of ZeroAvia, a US-UK start-up developing hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation technologies.

NEOM joined Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, AENU, and International Airlines Group (IAG) to invest $30 million in ZeroAvia to bring its Series B fund raising round to $68 million, the company said in a press statement.

The statement said the funds would be deployed to advance ZeroAvia's 2-5MW hydrogen-electric powertrain development programme, which aims to power 40-80 seat aircraft with zero-emission engines by 2026, and to build infrastructure at airport sites, which will support live demonstrations of its Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE).

In addition to the investment relationship, ZeroAvia and NEOM will partner to bring fleets of ZeroAvia fuel cell-powered aircraft of all size classes to the region, the statement said.

NEOM Airport CEO John Seldon said: “Aviation will be instrumental in supporting our work to deliver a zero-carbon city and we envision hydrogen-electric aircraft connecting NEOM to regional destinations and via zero-emissions flight. The airport from NEOM Bay, for example a flight to Cairo, would be well within range of a 20-seat turboprop aircraft powered by ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell engines by the end of the decade.”

ZeroAvia counts three major airline groups - IAG, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines - as strategic investors.

The company is carrying out ground testing of its ZA600 powertrain at its UK R&D facility at Cotswold Airport, part of Project HyFlyer II, which aims to demonstrate hydrogen-electric flight in a Dornier 228 aircraft.

(Writing by Sowmya Sundar; Editing by Anoop Menon)