MIAMI – The Freedom Flight Prize will be awarded to the first successful zero-carbon transatlantic flight for a passenger aircraft.

The first manufacturer, research group, or inventor to design and fly a 100+ seat passenger aircraft across the Atlantic with 100% renewable energy will win the Prize.

The competition for the prestigious Freedom Flight Prize is beginning to shape up, as three entries have now signed on to compete. The three entities currently in contention for the prize are Okulo Airspace, The ePlane Company, and ZeroAvia.

By the time the prize is won, it is estimated that it will be worth millions of £.

Initial Contenders

Okulo Airspace is a Karnataka-based engineering startup aiming to combine renewable energy with precision engineering, currently developing solar-electric hybrid aerial platforms that will “revolutionize aerial data acquisition.”

The ePlane Company, based out of Chennai, India, is a two-man operation dedicated to creating hybrid and sustainable aircraft.

Perhaps the top contender, ZeroAvia is based in both the U.K. and California and is responsible for developing the world’s first zero-emission aviation powertrain.

ZeroAvia raised US$21.4m in Series A round funding back in January. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the raise, with follow-on investors Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Summa Equity.

The company also entered into a collaboration with British Airways (BA) and received UK government investment via the ATI program, which provides US$16.3m in funding to produce a 19-person, electric hydrogen-powered aircraft ready for the market by 2023.

Technical Panel

Carbon Footprint Ltd., the sponsor of the Freedom Flight Prize, also announced the Technical Panel for the competition. The Panel will consist of Dr. Wendy Buckley, Dr. Bobby Sethi, Miles Thomas, Prof. Ian Williams, and Karl Young.

All five members of the panel are highly experienced professionals or academics with a passion for sustainability and aviation. They will decide the final winner and provide updates throughout the competition on breakthroughs and technological updates.

“This is the revolution that I have been waiting my whole career for – the Freedom Flight Prize puts 100% renewable flights right in the spotlight in order to address the climate emergency we face,” said John Buckley, founder of the Freedom Flight Prize and MD for Carbon Footprint Ltd. “We anticipate that the Freedom Flight Prize will propel the travel industry to deliver on the needs of the people and the planet.”

Photo: ZeroAvia

For Those Wanting to Enter the Prize

In order to be considered, the plane must complete a round trip between London and New York City. Each flight must be under 10 hours, and the plane must have completed the return leg of the trip within 24 hours. Each leg of the trip must be nonstop, with no refueling stops while on route.

Several businesses have already signed on to support the competition, including American Express Global Business Travel and Oceanwood Capital Management.

Featured image: ZeroAvia