THP-E327: ZeroAvia Partners W/ AA, Nikola Scores A Big Order & Hydrogen Racing Gets Serious

Paul Rodden • Season: 2024 • Episode: 327

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 327, Zero Avia gets a huge bump from American Airlines. Nikola pushes sales beyond expectations, and hydrogen racing gets serious. I’ll go over this news and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast.

Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please feel free to email me at with any questions. Also, if you wouldn’t mind subscribing to my podcast using your preferred platform… I would greatly appreciate it.

Paul Rodden



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Start Here: The 6 Main Colors of Hydrogen


Zero Avia gets a huge bump from American Airlines. Nikola pushes sales beyond expectations, and hydrogen racing gets serious. I’ll go over this news and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast. So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy, where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally, and where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast. In a press release on July 2, American Airlines commits to conditional purchase of 100 ZeroAvia hydrogen-powered engines, increases investment in hydrogen-electric innovator. American Airlines on July 2, announced that it has entered into a conditional purchase agreement with clean aviation innovator ZeroAvia for 100 hydrogen-electric engines intended to power regional jet aircraft with zero inflight emissions save for water vapor. In addition, American has increased its investment in ZeroAvia. American made its first investment in ZeroAvia in 2022 and has also now participated in the company’s Series C financing round. The engine agreement follows the Memorandum of Understanding the companies announced in 2022. ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen-electric (fuel cell-powered) engines for commercial aircraft, which offer the potential for close to 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 CRJ700, 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.” The investment and conditional commitment to purchase novel engine technology contributes to American’s aggressive goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In recent years, American has undertaken the most extensive fleet renewal effort in the history of commercial aviation, which currently gives it the youngest mainline fleet of any major U.S. network carrier and improves fuel efficiency. American has made industry-leading investments in sustainability, including finalizing an offtake agreement with Infinium, a producer of next-generation low-carbon sustainable aviation fuel, and becoming the first customer of Graphyte’s innovative and permanent carbon removal process. “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 ZeroAvia Founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. “The solutions that can serve the largest airlines are within reach, and the clean future of flight is coming.” ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft’s propellers. The only inflight emission is low-temperature water vapor, and the lower intensity electrical systems have the potential to offer significant cost savings. Okay, so a big win for zero. Avia, coming off the news of universal hydrogen closing its doors, and this is also a massive step forward for American Airlines as they move to decarbonize their fleet. Now it’s important to remember the scale of these aircraft. These are small, 20 seat regional planes, meaning I doubt they will be utilized at large international airports. So with that in mind, how is American planning to refuel these planes at regional airports? The infrastructure investments needed will be substantial, but obviously nothing compared to what an international airport would need, and maybe that’s the point they begin operations at smaller airports. Work out the kinks and work through supply chain logistics. That makes sense. Hopefully this MOU continues to move forward, and I look forward to seeing zeroavia Deliver these units. Next in a brief press release on July 2, Nikola Wholesales 72 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks For North American Customers In Q2 2024, Exceeds Sales Guidance. a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, via the HYLA brand, wholesaled 72 Class 8 Nikola hydrogen fuel cell trucks, above the high end of truck sales guidance of 60 units. For the first half of 2024, Nikola wholesaled 112 hydrogen fuel cell trucks. “We have maintained our 2024 momentum with solid wholesale numbers, new customers such as Walmart Canada, and repeat customers like 4GEN and IMC, purchasing vehicles through our dealer network,” said Nikola CEO Steve Girsky. “We are firmly on the field and are continuing to secure our first-mover advantage in zero-emissions Class 8 trucks in North America, as well as with our HYLA hydrogen refueling solutions.” , and as of this recording, they are still trending down with a 20% drop over the last five days, and currently sitting at a $7.45 cent a share price. I do believe that if they continue this sales run though and show a profit by the end of the year, that share price should improve dramatically. And lastly, in some fun hydrogen news in ESPN extreme H presents hydrogen powered race car and a fresh focus. The world’s first hydrogen race series, Extreme H, unveiled its new car on Thursday with a fresh focus on green technology and a shift away from racing in remote locations to raise awareness of climate change. Extreme E, its predecessor, had aimed to promote sustainability and electric vehicles by racing SUVs in harsh areas already hit by environmental damage in a ‘docu-sport’ concept. Founder Alejandro Agag told Reuters the switch to green hydrogen, produced by splitting water through electrolysis using renewable energy, meant a new mission. “The focus before was to showcase what is happening in those remote locations,” he said at the launch in London on board the former mail ship St Helena that has served as a floating paddock and marine research platform. “Now the focus is only to hydrogen technology, so we don’t have that pressure of going to those remote locations to tell the story, we already did that. “Now we can race closer to Europe, closer to the U.S. because those are the places where hydrogen has to be deployed.” The 10-round 2025 calendar will have an opener in Saudi Arabia in April with races in Britain, Germany, Italy before a finale in the United States. Formula One champions Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are among the existing team owners with seven times NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson also a competitor. Extreme E, launched in 2021 with identical SUVs and male and female drivers in every lineup, had ventured as far as Senegal, Greenland, Chile and Uruguay, but the St Helena’s future is now uncertain. “It was amazing when we were in Greenland on this ship but very few sponsors could come, very few partners. It’s too far,” said Agag. “I would love to keep it, we still have to make a decision because it’s very costly. “And if we don’t go far away it loses a bit it’s reason of being. But it’s a great place to lead the experience of the races.” Agag said he planned to continue Extreme E’s legacy programmes. The Pioneer 25 SUV uses a 75kw hydrogen fuel cell as principal energy source, with the car capable of accelerating from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds and scale gradients of up to 130%. Red Bull will join as a sponsor with Saudi investment fund PIF the series’ principal partner. “We are going to be the first ones really racing on hydrogen for I think quite some time,” said Agag. “We have a car that races, that has been tested for 1500km and we are ready to go. There will be an H championship next year.” Okay, so like I said, some fun news for the hydrogen racing series extreme h now, while this news may not impact your day to day hydrogen activities, it is important news. Now I’ve said a few times that motorsports embrace of hydrogen is extremely important to fuel cell development, as well as getting the public aware of hydrogen powered vehicles. This series is bringing some of the biggest names in racing into the hydrogen economy, and it’s proving also that fuel cell powertrains can withstand extreme environments and conditions. I will definitely keep an ear to the ground as the 2025 extreme H begins, and hopefully when they get to the US, I’ll have the opportunity to see that race. All right, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another. Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.