ZeroAvia has signed an agreement with UK-based zero-emissions regional turboprop aircraft lessor Monte Aircraft Leasing. As part of the agreement the partners will offer aircraft leasing and financing solutions that enable operators to run zero-emission flights.
Under the deal, Monte will purchase up to 100 ZA600 powertrains to be installed on existing and new Cessna Caravan, DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier 228 and HAL-228 aircraft. Monte and ZeroAvia aim to retrofit the aircraft for clients starting in 2024 and will provide and finance maintenance and hydrogen availability services to support these operations. The deal will make ZeroAvia Monte's exclusive hydrogen-electric powertrain provider for these aircraft.
ZeroAvia VP business development James Peck says: “Together, ZeroAvia and Monte will provide a compelling proposition to operators of five to 20 seat aircraft. This partnership will offer flexibility to operators to allow them to launch zero-emissions flights on their networks, as well as extending the lifespan of hundreds of in-service airframes.”
Monte investment director Timothy Eyre adds: “We are delighted to have partnered with ZeroAvia, which is the market leader in the hydrogen-electric space. Our partnership is an important step in our journey towards becoming one of the world's first zero-emission aircraft lessors, and we look forward to working with the ZeroAvia team on offering financing solutions for turboprop operators.”
ZeroAvia's hydrogen-electric powertrain brings fuel cell and electric motor technology together to create an aircraft engine that will deliver improved operating economics without harming the planet. The ZA600 powertrain, ZeroAvia's market entry 600kW system designed to support five to 20 seat airframes by 2024, uses gaseous hydrogen stored on board in lightweight tanks. The hydrogen feeds fuel cell stacks that generate power by converting hydrogen into electricity.
ZeroAvia will soon flight test the ZA600 powertrain in a retrofitted Dornier 228. In the initial testing configuration, the aircraft testbed will fly with one hydrogen-electric powertrain on one wing, while keeping the stock engine on the other wing to ensure safe testing conditions. The testing programme will then sequentially move to full hydrogen-electric flight, ultimately working towards a certifiable hydrogen-electric powertrain as the sole propulsion source for the categories of airframes included in this deal with Monte.
The work to develop ZA600 up to a certifiable configuration is part of the HyFlyer II project, in part supported by the UK Government through the ATI programme.