British-American company ZeroAvia is welcoming 2022 with a slew of brand-new collaborations. Recently, mainstream companies like ASL Aviation Holding, Alaska Air Group, and five other businesses have chosen to join forces with ZeroAvia and make their mark in the field of sustainable energy.
The five-year-old eco-friendly startup is developing hydrogen-electric power trains for the aviation sector
, which is known to have a large impact on climate change thanks to its high amount of carbon emissions. The company believes it offers the best option for a renewable power source for the flight industry — and it is not alone.United Airlines announces new equity stake in ZeroAvia
On 13 December, United Airlines announced that it plans to buy up to 100 of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines
with a tentative plan of retrofitting them into existing aircraft by 2028.
“Hydrogen-electric engines are one of the most promising paths to zero-emission air travel for smaller aircraft, and this investment will keep United out in front on this important emerging technology,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby in a statement. “United continues to look for opportunities to not only advance our own sustainability initiatives but also identify and help technologies and solutions that the entire industry can adopt.” ZeroAvia scales up its hydrogen-electric propulsion technology
ZeroAvia is working with ASL Aviation Holding to launch zero-emission hydrogen-electric-powered operations beginning in 2026 for ATR cargo aircraft. The success the company has had in demonstrating that this technology is as effective as it is innovative is the driving force behind this project.
ZeroAvia, in its collaboration with ASL, will help develop a powertrain replacement
for critical aircraft able to carry 40 to 90 passengers. It will use the ZeroAvia technology to scale its current hydrogen airport refueling ecosystem (HARE) and support the refueling of these newly converted aircraft. ZeroAvia partners with HAL to create hydrogen-electric powertrain
On 9 November 2021, ZeroAvia announced a collaboration with India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to create a 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain system for the Dornier 228 aircraft. As part of this deal, HAL will retrofit existing airframes and build new aircraft, all featuring ZeroAvia power trains
There are currently 242 Dornier 228 aircraft in service, many belonging to the Indian military. Engineers from HAL and ZeroAvia will work together to install ZeroAvia's ZA600 hydrogen-electric power train into the Dornier 228 airframe. HAL struck a technology transfer arrangement with Dornier in 1983 and produced over 150 aircraft, including those used by the Indian military.
ZeroAvia will provide zero-emission aircraft with HAL in a short time frame. The company currently has a Dornier 228 at its facility in Cotswold Airport that serves as a dedicated platform for their HyFlyer II project. It has successfully put a 600kW power train in the aircraft and will begin flight testing soon and hopefully achieve certification in time to enter into commercial service in 2024. ZeroAvia partners with Rose Cay to market zero-emissions aircraft
In this collaboration, ZeroAvia is providing their zero-emission powertrain systems to existing aircraft. Rose Cay will provide funds to acquire, convert, and lease these aircraft fitted with this sustainable energy option. This means aircraft operators will have access to zero-emission powertrain technology without waiting for new aircraft to hit the market. Alaska Air Group and ZeroAvia work together to develop 76-seat zero-emission aircraft
Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, and ZeroAvia are working together toward sustainable aviation. The airline recently secured kits that will allow it to convert its regional aircraft to hydrogen-electric power using the company's powertrain technology.
Engineers from Alaska and ZeroAvia will collaborate to grow
the company's current powertrain technology to create the ZA2000, an engine family capable of delivering between 2,000 and 5,000 kilowatts of power with a 500-mile range. The alliance will initially install hydrogen-electric propulsion technology in a full-size De Havilland Q400 aircraft capable of transporting 76 passengers, which was previously operated by Alaska Air Group subsidiary Horizon Air Industries, Inc.
In addition, ZeroAvia will support the ground fuel production and dispensing infrastructure for the airline, along with other partners such as Shell. Together, they are working to decarbonize one of the most critical industries in the world.
Developing zero-emission propulsion for regional aircraft
In a collaborative effort with MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ), a division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ZeroAvia will create aircraft solutions
with hydrogen-electric propulsion. This collaboration, in particular, is a crucial step in the company's goal to reach a broader market with its hydrogen-electric powertrain technology.
MHIRJ will support ZeroAvia in this project by providing its engineering services. The company will also play a significant role as ZeroAvia evaluates the options for retrofitting regional aircraft with sustainable technology.
ZeroAvia has plans to certify and market its 19-seat power train by as early as 2024. However, the ultimate goal is to fit larger aircraft, with as many as 80 seats, by 2026 and regional jets by 2028. The deal with MHIRJ represents the first steps toward these impressive goals. The aviation industry has a commitment to meet carbon-reduction targets, and ZeroAvia is most likely part of the puzzle. Ordering high-power density fuel cell system
By partnering with Hyzon, a supplier for hydrogen fuel cell-powered heavy vehicles, ZeroAvia can take its technology to the next level. The goal of this collaboration is to evaluate the high-performance, lightweight fuel cell offered by Hyzon.
ZeroAvia selected this product because it has the industry’s leading power density. Hydrogen provides three times more specific energy content than jet fuel and at least 100 times more than even the best batteries on the market. That makes it the only viable choice if the aviation industry hopes to meet its zero-emission targets. The Hyzon fuel cell uses prosperity technology for bipolar plate and membrane electrode assembly (MEA); this is necessary to create the electrochemical reactions that generate the power provided by this fuel cell.
ZeroAvia plans to take this fuel cell stack and test it
through simulated airplane duty cycles to see if it generates enough power for takeoff and perform other critical airplane functions. It must also be able to handle the strenuous circumstances that airplanes deal with due to changes in altitude and other issues. Once they pass the simulations, the next step is to test them on actual flights. Green hydrogen aviation project
The best hope for the aviation industry is green hydrogen, which is one of the key purposes behind the HyFlyer II project. HyFlyer II is working to develop a certifiable 600kW hydrogen-electric fuel cell powertrain for a 19-seat aircraft with a 500-nautical mile range. The partnership with Octopus Energy Group is a great step toward this government-backed project.
In HyFlyer II, Octopus Energy Group is supplying 100% green hydrogen to the R&D center for ZeroAvia to use. ZeroAvia will supplement on-site electrolysis hydrogen production to develop the fuel cell powertrain. For this project, Octopus will provide 250 kilograms of green, fuel cell grade, high-pressure hydrogen each day to the ZeroAvia mobile refueling unit.
The 100% green hydrogen is necessary to provide a commercially available zero-emission hydrogen-electric aircraft power train.
Each one of these collaborations moves ZeroAvia closer to goals that can change the way the world looks at sustainable fuel. The company is the leader in zero-emission aviation. It has already seen several milestones met in its work toward zero emissions.
Developers at ZeroAvia now have experimental certificates for two prototype aircraft and have already passed flight tests. The company also has grants from the U.K.’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK and is part of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Jet Zero Council.
Along with these essential partners, ZeroAvia is looking to reduce global CO₂ emissions
and support aviation. It continues to work with airline and aircraft manufacturers to look for solutions that can reduce greenhouse gases and find solutions that benefit both the flight industry and the health of the planet.