ZeroAvia to supply hydrogen fuel cell conversion kits to Alaska Airlines


Hydrogen aircraft developer ZeroAvia is partnering with Alaska Airlines to integrate a hydrogen-electric powertrain into a De Havilland regional jet.

ZeroAvia is to scale up the company’s existing powertrain to an engine capable of producing between 2,000 and 5,000 kilowatts of power to give a 500 mile (800km)range on the 76-seat DHC 8-400 (Q400). ZeroAvia, which has sites in the UK and California, is to run the project from a location in Seattle, Washington State.

Alaska Airlines is also investing into ZeroAvia. “We are committed to creating a sustainable future for aviation, working on all aspects of a five-part path toward our goal of net zero by 2040,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, vice president of public affairs and sustainability for Alaska Airlines.

“We are honored to partner with ZeroAvia’s innovative and forward-thinking team, to support their progress developing zero-emissions aviation, and to collaborate for real-world hydrogen aviation success.”

Alaska has secured options for up to 50 kits to convert its fleet of regional aircraft to hydrogen-electric power with ZeroAvia, starting with the Q400 aircraft. ZeroAvia said the rollout will be supported by ground fuel production and dispensing infrastructure from infrastructure partners, such as Shell.

“The aviation industry is one of the hardest industries to decarbonize. However, with this collaboration, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of making our skies emission-free,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia.

ZeroAvia has ground-tested a 600kW powertrain which it plan to flight test in a 19-seat aircraft at Cotswold Airport in the UK and aims to start flight testing a 2,000kW engine in 2022.

The company recently acquired two 19-seat Dornier aircraft for the next phase of its flight testing program. ZeroAvia flew a prototype from Cranfield Airport, UK in June 2020, as part of a UK Government-funded project

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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