ZeroAvia has announced a major partnership with Alaska Airlines to develop a 76-passenger, hydrogen fuel-cell powered aircraft. The aircraft will be a Bombardier Q400, which was provided to ZeroAvia by Alaska Airlines. ZeroAvia will retrofit the Q400 with hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion to make it the first of its kind.
ZeroAvia, a major developer of hydrogen-electric powertrains for commercial aircraft, has already had great success in setting multiple hydrogen propulsion records in flight-tested aircraft.
Through this partnership, ZeroAvia was officially provided with a retired Alaska Airlines Bombardier Q400. Thanks to this donation, ZeroAvia will be able to convert the Dash-8 airframe into the largest hydrogen-powered aircraft ever to take flight.
At the partnership event, ZeroAvia also debuted its multi-megawatt modular electric motor system in a 1.8MW prototype, which featured a live demonstration with a propeller spin on ZeroAvia’s ground-test rig. When combined with ZeroAvia’s in-house developed higher temperature PEM fuel cells and advanced power electronics, this advanced electric motor technology becomes one of the crucial elements needed to make hydrogen fuel cell engines commercially viable for larger aircraft.
ZeroAvia’s 15-ton “HyperTruck” ground-test rig
Said Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, “Demonstrating this size of aircraft in flight, powered entirely by novel propulsion, would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Launching this program puts us on track for a test flight next year, and accelerates our progress toward the future of zero-emission flight for Alaska Airlines and for the world at large.”
ZeroAvia plans is targeting a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. The company has already demonstrated a successful test flight this January of a 19-seat aircraft with its prototype 600kW hydrogen-electric engine (ZA600), and has secured $10B in pre-orders from a number of major global airlines. The company is on track for commercial operations of retrofitted aircraft by 2025.
Alaska Airlines established a collaboration with ZeroAvia in 2021, and made a major investment in the company to facilitate the advancement of zero emissions propulsion technology for regional aircraft.
Why it’s important: As one of the largest airlines in the U.S. with a broad regional network, Alaska is has an exceptional opportunity to begin integrating zero-emissions propulsion technology into its regional fleet. Through this partnership, ZeroAvia will be given a chance to demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen-propulsion for larger aircraft, and Alaska Airlines will be able to set a precedent for zero-emissions regional transportation.
Source // Alaska Airlines, Electrek