ZeroAvia buys fuel cell developer HyPoint


Hydrogen-aircraft company ZeroAvia has bought aviation fuel cell technology firm Hypoint.

ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen-electric powertrains suitable for use in clean sheet aircraft designs and for retrofitting to existing airplanes.

HyPoint was founded in 2019 and is developing a hydrogen fuel cell for aviation applications. The company has headquarters in Menlo Park, California and in March this year opened a R&D site in Sandwich, UK.

Hypoint’s high-temperature proton-exchange membrane (HTPEM) fuel cell system uses bipolar plates made from an aluminum foil that is light, commercially viable and has a high thermal conductivity. The system uses compressed air for cooling during flight and as a source of oxygen supply.

Before the acquisition, ZeroAvia had ordered fuel cell systems from Hypoint alongside US rotorcraft manufacturer Piasecki Aircraft. Hypoint has previously said it had 600 orders for fuel cell systems.

ZeroAvia has also recently began a joint program with Swedish fuel cell company PowerCell to develop low temperature PEM (LTPEM) fuel cells for its hydrogen aircraft powertrains.

ZeroAvia said that the acquisition of Hypoint would add to its “already leading expertise in developing the full powertrain to enable hydrogen-electric flight”.

Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia said, “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.

“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.”

HyPoint’s 40 employees, who are based at a laboratory in Sandwich, UK will become ZeroAvia employees.

HyPoint’s CEO Alex Ivanenko joins ZeroAvia as general manager for VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) and new segments. All of HyPoint’s engineering team will join ZeroAvia’s hydrogen power generation systems (PGS) division led by Rudolf Coertze, chief technology officer for hydrogen.

Ivanenko said, “This acquisition is the natural next chapter in our journey, allowing us to tap into the benefits of the larger and strategic resources that ZeroAvia has to offer. It will accelerate our product development and, as a result, partners from different market segments will get mature products based on novel turbo-air cooled HTPEM hydrogen fuel cells.

“The team and I are excited to join forces with ZeroAvia to achieve the ambitious vision and product roadmap for zero-emission aviation.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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