Tuesday, May 21, 2024

ZeroAvia and Shell to build mobile refuelers for hydrogen aircraft in California

While many other companies in the industry are focusing on designing and developing hydrogen-fueled aircraft from scratch, ZeroAvia is gearing up to test its retrofitted Dornier 228 this summer.

The company has partnered with its strategic investor, Shell, to design and build two commercial-scale mobile hydrogen refuelers for use at ZeroAvia’s research and development site in Hollister, California. At ZeroAvia’s test facility in Hollister, Shell will also provide compressed, low-carbon hydrogen supply to the facility and other locations in the Western U.S.

This strategic collaboration will support the development of ZeroAvia’s flight testing program in the U.S. following the arrival of its second Dornier 228 at Hollister last month and will advance the company’s Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE) on a larger scale.

ZeroAvia will begin flight-testing its ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain this summer using its two Dornier-228 testbed aircraft, first in the U.K. and later replicating this work on the U.S.-based demonstrator. The company developed this 600-kW powertrain as part of the HyFlyer II project and will deliver a fully certified powertrain for aircraft of up to 19 seats by 2024.

Project HyFlyer II is supported by the U.K. Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate U.K. through the ATI Programme.

Moreover, ZeroAvia has also unveiled a 100-meter-long (328 feet) hydrogen pipeline that runs alongside ZeroAvia’s hangar at Cotswold Airport in the U.K., which claims to be the first of its kind in Europe. The company will utilize it alongside an electrolyzer and mobile refueler to use low-carbon hydrogen for its test flight program.

The ambitious startup has also been working on a concept study for liquid hydrogen mobile refueling vehicles. This will inform ZeroAvia’s development of a large-scale liquid hydrogen refueling truck, an important step as the company progresses its powertrains from gaseous to liquid hydrogen to support larger aircraft.