Tuesday, 29 June 2021

ZeroAvia expands its hydrogen-electric aviation programme with 19-Seat Dornier 228 aircraft


ZeroAvia is expanding its hydrogen-electric aviation programme with two 19-Seat Dornier 228 aircraft, one in the UK and one in the U.S. The aircraft have been provided by Aurigny in the UK and AMC Aviation in the U.S. and will allow ZeroAvia to enter the next phase in its quest towards clean hydrogen-electric aviation. Both aircraft were previously in service for regional flights in the US and UK, demonstrating the opportunity for carbon reduction on existing routes.

ZeroAvia's 19-seat R&D is part of HyFlyer II, the second ZeroAvia-led project backed by the UK Government to target the development of a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. As part of HyFlyer I, ZeroAvia successfully demonstrated a 250kW powerplant in a 6-seat aircraft across three flight test campaigns, achieving all the project's technical goals, including fuel-cell only cruise flight. All the learnings of HyFlyer I will be fully utilized in the development of a 600kW 19-seater powerplant in HyFlyer II.

For the 19-seat aircraft, two 600KW units of the company's hydrogen-electric powertrain will replace the aircraft's twin engines, along with hydrogen fuel tanks eventually holding 100kg of compressed gaseous hydrogen to support the 500-mile range of the commercial offering in 2024. Additionally, ZeroAvia is progressing the software, hardware, mechanical integration, and fuel cell balance-of-plant to the certifiable state. The 6-ton aircraft will have a range of 500 nautical miles.

"As air travel begins to increase again, political and public pressure is mounting to incorporate more sustainable technology," said Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of Aurigny. "ZeroAvia's 19-seat initiative will not only seek to decarbonize existing regional services but also expand the reach of regional aviation by ultimately reducing seat-mile cost, making smaller planes competitive with larger aircraft. In turn, smaller airports will become more accessible for aviation service, increasing traveller convenience, and the corresponding demand for point-to-point regional air travel."

ZeroAvia has also secured an additional $13 million for its 50+ seat engine development program from AP Ventures, a significant investor in breakthrough technologies across the hydrogen value chain, Alumni Ventures Group, SGH Capital, Agartha Fund LP, and existing investors Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, SYSTEMIQ, and Horizons Ventures. This new funding complements the initial investment of $24 million the company announced a few weeks ago, bringing the total private investment into ZeroAvia large engine development for 50+ seat aircraft to $37 million.

"We are eager and ready to begin testing our hydrogen-electric powertrain technology on a larger commercial-size aircraft and grateful to our investors and grant funders for their continued support of our vision for sustainable aviation," said Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO at ZeroAvia. "Various projections indicate that aviation may account for over 25 percent of human-induced climate effects by 2050. We are on the path to helping reverse that trend, first with our successful 6-seater testing and now with the R&D for our 19-seater, and the kick-off of our 50+ seat program. Hydrogen is the only practical solution for true climate-neutral flight, and it will become a commercial reality much sooner than many predict."




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