The aviation industry is the world’s largest carbon emitter; zero-emission aircraft are key to decarbonizing the aviation industry, with airlines already experimenting with sustainable aviation, including electric propulsion, biofuels, and synthetic fuels.
California-based air-cargo ship designing and developing company Natilus has announced a strategic partnership with ZeroAvia to develop the Natilus Kona cargo aircraft with ZeroAvia’s ZA600 hydrogen-electric propulsion source. This partnership is focused on zero-emission and low-cost operations.
The Kona is a short-haul feeder UAV, and it will be Natilus’ first fleet to have the option of being powered by the ZeroAvia ZA600 hydrogen-electric engine for zero-emission propulsion.
The Natilus Kona, with its revolutionary autonomous blended-wing body (BWB) cargo aircraft, offers increased volume for hydrogen storage, potentially expanding the air cargo delivery industry at low cost, with low-carbon emissions and extended flight range.
The partnership with ZeroAvia will leverage its expertise in hydrogen-electric powertrain technology and Natilus’ unique design to create a scalable, long-range, and zero-emission air cargo delivery solution for the entire industry.
ZeroAvia’s 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain will be integrated into the Kona, allowing for 3.8 tons of payload and long-range. Kona is currently under full-scale construction with an 85 ft (26 m) wingspan and is expected to fly in 2024.
After three years of extensive wind-tunnel testing, Nautilus recently validated the performance of the BWB design with quarter-scale flight testing of the Kona prototype aircraft. ZeroAvia has completed eight test flights of its prototype ZA600, a 600kW engined 19-seat testbed aircraft.
Aleksey Matyushev, Co-founder and CEO of Natilus said: “Natilus has a long-term commitment to being a responsible steward of our environment, instituting practices that can protect the environment through continual improvements to save fuel and water, reduce waste, air emissions, noise, and material consumption. The Natilus-ZeroAvia partnership goes further, bringing the talents and innovations of the two companies together to deliver much-needed innovation in the air cargo delivery industry and multiple solutions for our customers.”