A 19 seat Dornier 228 currently under development by UK and US-based ZeroAvia is to fly, eventually, entirely on hydrogen. The company intends to realise a hydrogen-powered commercial flight in 2024.
The hydrogen-electric powertrain uses hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors. Hydrogen-electric propulsion will have the additional benefit of lower operating costs, making routes more attractive to airlines, airports and passengers. ZeroAvia is initially targeting a 500 mile range, and has already secured experimental certificates for two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA.
Progress is spurred on by a partnership with Dutch airport operator Royal Schiphol Group, Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport Foundation and the airport itself. The companies will set a solid timeline for the launch of the first zero emission commercial passenger flights between the UK and the Netherlands. ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group are in talks with airlines to agree on an operator for the planned route, and will collaborate on testing and demonstrating hydrogen supply chain refuelling operations and integration with airport operations.
Head of Europe Sergey Kiselev says: "This deal means that, in just three years' time, you should be able to board a flight and make the hour’s journey between the UK and the Netherlands without worrying about the impact on the climate. Working with partners like Royal Schiphol Group, we are making true zero emission flights a reality for passengers in the first half of this decade."
The two companies will focus on ensuring the pathway for commercially adopting hydrogen-electric aviation, including establishing the right regulatory framework and understanding industry and public appetite for zero emissions flight powered by hydrogen.
ZeroAvia recently established a legal entity in the Netherlands to enable it to create opportunities for commercialisation and partnership with airports, airframe manufacturers and/or airlines within the Netherlands and wider European Union.
Rotterdam the Hague airport CEO Ron Louwerse said: "Boarding a zero emission flight from Rotterdam to London is only the beginning of green aviation, and that will only be made possible by pioneering and promoting innovation in the sector. With the Netherlands as the testing ground for aviation, we strengthen our competitive position, knowledge base and business climate."