The aircraft pioneer’s participation in the HyFlyer II project is the alliance’s focus. Backed by the UK government, ZeroAvia is working to develop an airworthy powertrain built around a 600kW hydrogen-electric fuel cell, capable of powering a 19-seat aircraft over a 500 nautical mile range.
Founded in 2017 by Valery Mifthakov, ZeroAvia presents itself as a leader in zero-emission aviation, focusing on hydrogen-electric power at first for 10 to 20-seat aircraft used in passenger and cargo transport, agriculture and more.
From bases in California and Gloucestershire, the plane builder has already secured experimental certificates from US and UK authorities for its two prototypes. It says it is on track for commercial operations in 2024.
In Britain ZeroAvia’s expansion is supported by grants from the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. The plane builder is part of the Prime Minister’s Jet Zero Council, which in June benefitted from £3 million more in public funds.
ZeroAvia and its partners in other HyFlyer projects have developed the Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE). This includes an on-site electrolyser, used to provide green hydrogen for a breakthrough flight testing of a six-seat Piper Malibu aircraft, during HyFlyer’s first phase.
Advancing to the expanded programme, ZeroAvia identified Octopus as preferred supplier for a ready supply of the pumped gas.
Octopus Hydrogen is new within Octopus Energy. It proposes locally distributed ‘green hydrogen as a service’, intended for use in transporting heavy goods, in energy storage and industrial applications.
Aviation accounts globally for around 2 per cent of human-induced CO2 emissions, William Rowe, the firm’s founder and CEO, observed.
He commented: “We started Octopus Hydrogen to deliver 100% green hydrogen to those sectors that cannot be decarbonised through batteries alone.
“Aviation is a perfect use for green hydrogen. We are delighted to be supporting ZeroAvia over
the coming years with the supply of high pressure, pure and zero-carbon hydrogen.”
“So finding a way to maintain the benefits of flight without destroying our planet is a hugely exciting opportunity and critical for the UK to achieving Net Zero.”
Sergey Kiselev, ZeroAvia’s VP Europe, added: “To achieve a commercially available, certified zero emission hydrogen-electric powertrain, we need large amounts of 100 per cent green hydrogen. We are pleased to work with a UK-leader.
“Hydrogen-electric aviation is the only practical path to decarbonising flight at scale, as well as removing other harmful emissions from aviation that contribute to global warming.”