ZeroAvia Completes World First Hydrogen-Electrical Passenger Aircraft Flight – Drones Information
ZeroAvia, the leading innovator in the decarbonization of commercial aviation, has completed the world’s first flight of an aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The flight took place yesterday at the company’s research and development department in Cranfield, England. The six-seat Piper M-class aircraft completed the taxi, take-off, a loop, and landing.
ZeroAvia’s performance is the first step in realizing the transformational capabilities of the transition from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary energy source for commercial aviation. Ultimately, and without any new basic research, hydrogen-powered aircraft will match the flight distances and payload of current fossil fuel aircraft.
This major milestone on the road to commercial zero-emission flight is part of the HyFlyer project, a UK government-backed sequential research and development program that follows the UK’s first commercial-scale battery-electric flight on the same aircraft in June. ZeroAvia will now turn its attention to the next and final phase of its six-seat development program – a zero-emission 250-mile flight from an Orkney airfield before the end of the year. The demonstration of this range corresponds roughly to busy main routes such as Los Angeles to San Francisco or London to Edinburgh.
Val Miftakhov, CEO of ZeroAvia, comments: “It is difficult to put into words what this means for our team, but also for everyone who is interested in emission-free flight. While some test aircraft have flown using hydrogen fuel cells as a source of power, the size of this commercially available aircraft shows that paying passengers could very soon board a truly emission-free flight. The entire team at ZeroAvia and our partner companies can be proud of the fact that they have brought us to this point and I would also like to thank our investors and the UK government for their support. “
Aviation Secretary Robert Courts said: “Aviation is a hotbed of innovation and ZeroAvia’s amazing technology brings us all one step closer to a sustainable future for aviation. Through our pioneering Jet Zero partnership, we are working closely with the industry to drive innovation in the zero-carbon flight and we look forward to the sector growing stronger. “
Economy and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Developing less polluting aircraft will help the UK make significant strides in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This flight is another exciting milestone in ZeroAvia’s project. It shows that air traffic cleanup technologies are now available – with tremendous potential to better build and fuel clean economic growth in the UK. “
ZeroAvia’s innovation program in the UK is co-funded by the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) program. As part of the HyFlyer project, ZeroAvia is working with key partners, the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) and Intelligent Energy, to decarbonize medium-sized small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace traditional engines in propeller-driven aircraft. Intelligent Energy will optimize its high-performance fuel cell technology for use in aviation, while EMEC, manufacturer of green hydrogen from renewable energies, will supply the hydrogen required for flight tests and develop an aircraft-compatible mobile fueling platform.
Recently, ZeroAvia was also invited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join the UK’s JetZero Council and lead the UK to the ambitious goal of achieving the first zero-emission long-haul passenger flight ever.
Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “This is an important milestone for HyFlyer and the UK aerospace industry. We congratulate the team. By supporting projects like HyFlyer and new and innovative companies like ZeroAvia, ATI aims to realize our vision for future sustainable aviation and secure a head start for the UK aerospace industry in the highly competitive global market. “
In addition to all aircraft work, ZeroAvia and EMEC have developed the Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cranfield Airport – a microcosm of what the hydrogen airport ecosystem will look like in terms of the production, storage, refueling and operation of fuel cells with green hydrogen – Flight. This is another world first – a fully functional airport system for generating and refueling hydrogen for the primary propulsion of commercial aircraft.
The successful flight is good news for the aviation industry’s role in supporting the net-zero transition, but it also raises hopes for innovations that can alleviate economic challenges in the medium term, which is particularly important for the industry in light of the post-pandemic recovery . ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain is expected to have lower operating costs than its jet fuel competition due to lower fuel and maintenance costs. The company plans to control the production and supply of hydrogen fuels for its powertrains and other commercial customers in order to significantly reduce fuel availability and price risks for the entire market.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focusing on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions for a variety of markets. The initial goal is to achieve a range of 500 miles in 10 to 20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, parcel delivery, agriculture and more. Based in London and California, ZeroAvia has already received experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft, has reached key flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operation in 2023. The company’s expanding business in the UK is supported in part by a grant from the UK Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council. For more information, please visit ZeroAvia.com and follow @ZeroAvia on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
The HyFlyer project aims to decarbonise medium-range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace traditional piston engines in propeller-driven aircraft.
HyFlyer will demonstrate a phased approach from battery power to hydrogen and incorporate the new technology on board a Piper M-class aircraft, which will conduct initial test flights from Cranfield and culminate in a demonstration flight of 250-300 nautical miles (NM) at an Orkney airfield .
The project is led by ZeroAvia with the project partners European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) and Intelligent Energy.
The HyFlyer project is backed by the ATI program, a joint government and industry investment to maintain and enhance the UK’s competitive position in the design and manufacture of civil aerospace. The program, which is part of a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses challenges related to technology, performance and supply chain.