Sunday, May 26, 2024

ZeroAvia and PowerCell to jointly develop fuel cell stacks for aviation

Zero emission aviation powertrain specialist ZeroAvia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PowerCell Sweden to develop fuel-cell stacks designed for aviation applications. The Gothenburg-based company will develop and deliver at least 5,000 aviation-optimized Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks between 2024 and 2028.

As a part of the MoU, PowerCell intends to establish a UK presence for the first time, building a production team alongside ZeroAvia’s production facilities. Both the companies will continue to work together to modify existing PowerCell stacks for optimal performance within ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation powertrains. PowerCell intends to assemble the modified stacks for incorporation into ZeroAvia’s prototype and later certified powertrains.

PowerCell has been a key supplier of low-temperature PEM fuel cells as part of ZeroAvia’s pioneering efforts to develop a certified 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain underneath the HyFlyer II project. ZeroAvia plans to power 9-19 seat commercial aircraft up to 300 nautical miles using its ZA600 powertrains by 2024, allowing emission-free flights on routes such as London to Edinburgh and Stockholm to Malmö.

ZeroAvia is preparing for the inaugural test flight of its 600kW hydrogen-electric engine in the coming days, including the use of PowerCell fuel cell stacks as part of these systems. The company is also retrofitting a second Dornier-228 testbed to conduct further flight tests and demonstrations in the important North American market.

“This MoU further cements ZeroAvia’s lead in the race to deliver true zero-emission engines for commercial flights,” ZeroAvia’s Founder & CEO Val Miftakhov said. “By co-locating this operation, we can ensure the full collaboration of both talented teams in tailoring hydrogen fuel cell stacks for aviation. This will result in delivery of systems with the required power to enable electric aviation to achieve range and payload that is highly attractive to operators and airframe OEMs while eliminating emissions.”

“Working with ZeroAvia has been a core plank of our entry into the clean aviation market, which is a very large future market for fuel cell technology. We are delighted to further formalize that partnership and to establish our first UK development presence, given our opportunities here across multiple sectors,” said Richard Berkling, CEO of PowerCell Sweden.

PowerCell will establish a UK operation as part of the provisional agreement, which will be finalized in the third quarter of 2022.