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American Plans to Buy 100 Hydrogen-Electric Engines

Company increases investment in green engine innovator ZeroAvia.

An American Eagle CRJ-700 aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

American Airlines announced that it has entered into a conditional purchase agreement with ZeroAvia for 100 hydrogen-electric engines to power regional jet aircraft.

According to a news release from the carrier published Tuesday, this green initiative will allow jets to fly with zero inflight emissions, aside from water vapor. Additionally, American has increased its investment in ZeroAvia since announcing its memorandum of understanding in 2022.

Hollister, Calif.-headquartered ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen-electric (fuel cell-powered) engines for commercial aircraft, which offer the potential for near-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 CRJ-700, which American operates on certain regional routes.

“Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion,” said American’s CEO Robert Isom. “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.”

A ZeroAvia prototype aircraft (Photo: ZeroAvia)

ZeroAvia aims to deliver environmentally friendly electric propulsion engines to the industry. The international aerospace company’s primary focus is on developing hydrogen-electric engines. According to the release, ZeroAvia hopes to certify its first powertrain for up to 20-seat planes by the end of 2025 and is working on a larger powertrain for 40 to 80-seat aircraft by 2027.

“In signing this purchase agreement and furthering its investment, American is supporting our mission of innovation for clean aircraft propulsion and it is a good signal that ZeroAvia is delivering on our technology roadmap,” said Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia founder and CEO. “The solutions that can serve the largest airlines are within reach, and the clean future of flight is coming.”

The news release states that American seeks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through purchasing novel engine technology like ZeroAvia’s. The airline also says that lower-intensity electrical systems used by hydrogen-electric engines have the potential to offer significant cost savings.

AirlineGeeks.com Staff


  • Caleb Revill

    Caleb Revill is a journalist, writer and lifelong learner working as a Junior Writer for Firecrown. When he isn't tackling breaking news, Caleb is on the lookout for fascinating feature stories. Every person has a story to tell, and Caleb wants to help share them! He can be contacted by email anytime at [email protected].

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