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Itochu Invests in Hydrogen-Electric Engine Maker ZeroAvia

Partnership to Focus on Hydrogen Fuel Infrastructure and Distribution in Asia
i 8001.TSE Blue Chip 150 OM 60
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Japanese trading conglomerate Itochu Corporation has announced an investment in ZeroAvia, a California-based company specializing in hydrogen-electric engines for aircraft. The deal, which marks Itochu’s first foray into the hydrogen aviation sector, positions the group as ZeroAvia’s distributor in Asia and partners in developing airport hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

Although the financial details were not disclosed, the strategic investment leverages Itochu’s extensive aviation network. The conglomerate’s aviation portfolio includes Japan Aerospace, engaged in aircraft sales, and Jamco, a producer of aircraft interior materials.

ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines utilize fuel cells, which generate electricity through chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen. This technology saw a milestone in January 2023 when ZeroAvia successfully tested a 19-seat aircraft.

The company is targeting certification for engines designed for 40-80 passenger aircraft by 2027, with ambitions to scale up to engines for 200-seat planes. ZeroAvia has already secured nearly 2,000 engine preorders from major airlines and is collaborating with key industry players such as Airbus, energy companies, and airports to advance its technology.

This partnership underscores the growing momentum in the hydrogen aviation sector, as companies worldwide seek sustainable alternatives to traditional aviation fuels. By integrating ZeroAvia’s pioneering technology with its own industry expertise, Itochu aims to facilitate the adoption of hydrogen-powered flight across Asia, heralding a new era in sustainable aviation.



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