De Havilland, ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine for Dash 8-400 aircraft

De Havilland Canada, ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine for Dash 8-400 Aircraft.
De Havilland Canada, ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine for Dash 8-400 Aircraft. Credit: ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia and De Havilland Canada have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a line-fit and retrofit program for De Havilland Canada’s aircraft models, using hydrogen-electric propulsion in both new and in-service aircraft. As a part of the MOU, De Havilland Canada will be issued options to purchase 50 ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric engines after reaching a definitive agreement.

The companies intend to work a service bulletin for the Dash 8-400 type certificate offering ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engine as a line-fit option for new aircraft, as well as developing an OEM-approved retrofit program for in-service aircraft. This program will target the use of ZeroAvia’s two megawatt-plus ZA2000 hydrogen powertrains for Dash 8-400 aircraft.

The Dash 8-400 is one of the world’s most reliable turboprop aircraft, with more than 625 delivered to customers. The global fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft has logged over 11 million flight hours and transported more than 550 million passengers.

In October, ZeroAvia announced the development collaboration with Alaska Airlines for a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles, starting with initial deployment into a full-size Dash 8-400 aircraft.

In the coming weeks, the company expects to fly a 19-seat aircraft using its ZA600 powertrain in a hybrid configuration before flying the same aircraft using only hydrogen-electric engines in 2022 and building to certification by 2024.

On its ZA2000 program, ZeroAvia aims to have full thrust ground demonstrations of its 1.8MW engine variant by the end of 2022. From there, the company plans certification of its ZA2000 powertrain to support 40-80 seat aircraft with a potential range in excess of 700 nautical miles – about the distance from Toronto to Atlanta – by 2026 and eventually extending into aircraft up to 90 seats by 2027.

“De Havilland Canada has a strong belief in hydrogen-electric technology as a viable solution for de-carbonizing aviation. We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with ZeroAvia in developing climate-friendly propulsion as an option for our customers around the globe,” said Dave Riggs, Chief Transformation Officer, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada.

As a part of the program, ZeroAvia will develop a flight demonstrator, with De Havilland Canada’s support using a Dash 8-400 aircraft to aid certification and showcase the operational and commercial potential of the engine.