CleanTechies Podcast
#186 Electric Flight, Commercializing Hardware, Sustainable Aviation, Working at NASA, & More w/ Kevin Noertker (Ampaire)

#186 Electric Flight, Commercializing Hardware, Sustainable Aviation, Working at NASA, & More w/ Kevin Noertker (Ampaire)

How They are Making the Prius of Airplanes Allowing for Decarb of the Airways Today!

Why don't electric aircraft ever get lost? They always follow the current! ⚡️

🌎 Welcome back to CleanTechies! This is a Founder edition.

If you’re new (or forgot), we are The #1 Podcast For ClimateTech entrepreneurs.

Each week, we publish 2 (usually) ~1 hour-long conversations with leading Founders, Investors, Operators, and Thinkers in ClimateTech to share their insights and tips for others building in the space.

On top of that, we publish other written content like our Companies to Watch series we’ve been putting out recently.

So—if you’re a ClimateTech Entrepreneur (or at least an aspiring one), this is the place for you. Subscribe today.

Today, we are talking to Kevin Noertker from Ampaire

Last episode, we chatted about decarbonizing industrial production through the use of green hydrogen. Today, we are taking a trip up to the clouds to discuss how we can decarbonize the skies today.

Kevin started his career at NASA and ended up at Northrop Grumman, where he worked on Space and Aircraft technologies before he ended up founding Ampaire.

At Ampaire, they are decarbonizing air travel today. They are jetting for a solution that bridges the gap between fully electric and traditional travel and it saves about 50% fuel usage.

Today, Kevin takes us through his story and we explore a few topics:

  • Aerospace Engineer to Ampaire: His story of co-founding Ampaire.

  • Addressing Existing Stock: Electric aircraft is the future, but their solution helps address the existing stock of aircraft.

  • Bridging the Infrastructure Gap: How fully electric air travel will require massive infrastructure upgrades, so they are building a solution that will work in between.

I know we say this a lot, but it genuinely was inspiring to speak with Kevin, learn from him, and, all the while, see how humble he is despite doing truly incredible things. See you in the cloud(s) ☁️

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ClimateTech founders are taking on a huge challenge. Building a climate startup is highly complex but also SO NECESSARY if we are going to save the climate. Founders not only you need to understand how to build a startup, but you also need to understand how to deal with hardware, have a strong handle on climate policy, know how to fundraise from diverse investors types, etc. etc. etc…

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The Guest: Kevin Noertker

  • Kevin originally grew up in Utah surrounded by nature.

  • After his university experience he landed a role with NASA.

  • From there he worked on Space and Aircraft at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.

  • After 7 years of that he Co-Founded Ampaire. Once he got a feel for building new technologies at scale, he had the confidence to start his own company.

The Company: Ampaire

One Liner: Designing, Engineering, and Producing Hybrid Aviation Propulsion Systems to Decarbonize Air Travel Today.

Founded out of the expeirence Kevin and his co-founders had in aerospace, with the desire to revolutionize air travel.

They originally started with the goal of building fully electric aircraft, they eventually shifted to hybrid propulsion systems.

This allows them to make an impact on decarbonizing the aviation industry today.

Today, they have proved out their tech and are approaching commercial deployment at scale.

Do you have suggestions on future guests or topics? Leave a comment!

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📝 Show Notes:


  • 1:53 Intro and Background

  • 7:01 The Impact of NASA Experience

  • 14:20 The Third Revolution in Aviation

  • 17:09 Economic and Environmental Benefits

  • 28:19 Commercialization Process and Milestones

  • 38:39 Design Considerations for Hybrid Systems

  • 42:21 Infrastructure and Charging

  • 42:58 Recharging Electric Aircraft in the Air

  • 43:18 Adapting Infrastructure for Electric Aviation

  • 44:54 Takeaways


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🙏🏽 Thanks for tuning in, and see y’all next episode!

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CleanTechies Podcast
We are CleanTechies, the #1 Podcast for ClimateTech Entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an active ClimateTech entrepreneur, an aspiring one, an investor, a service provider…anything that touches supporting early stage climate tech, this is the place for you.
Each week, we publish two interviews with leading experts in the field telling their stories, insights, and advice to help ClimateTech Entrepreneurs like you be inspired by their successes and learn from their mistakes.