ZeroAvia is joining forces with energy group Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport in the Netherlands, to prepare to support flights with regional airliners converted to hydrogen propulsion. The parties will develop a concept of operations for hydrogen in airports and demonstration flights to European destinations by the end of 2024, gearing up for commercial passenger flights by 2025.
The partnership will focus on serving the first hydrogen flight from Rotterdam, including operation at the airport. It also envisages the development of on-the-ground infrastructure and operations to satisfactorily pilot distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation, leading towards decarbonizing the whole airport ecosystem.
The project targets supporting aircraft operations using gaseous hydrogen to fuel ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines. For these specific demonstration flights, the parties aim to establish routes to airports in Europe within a 250-nautical-mile radius of Rotterdam.
The project will also make it possible to develop aviation-specific standards and protocols around safety, refueling, and hydrogen management. This will enable the rollout of the promising fuel seamlessly. The parties will continue to work together in discussions with potential airline operators for the initial demonstration and subsequent commercial flights.
Shell brings critical experiences and technical capabilities to the project. This is expertise related to hydrogen end-to-end supply chains and global experiences in the design and operation of refueling equipment, including hydrogen.
“This project and collaboration is a milestone as it enables a rapid decarbonization of a hard-to-electrify sector such as aviation,” said Oliver Bishop, General Manager of Hydrogen at Shell. “It also offers the chance to support one of the first international zero-emission passenger routes. On top of that, it allows the opportunity to road test multi-fuel and multimodal fueling operations in a live airport environment. This is a big step forward for hydrogen aviation and for Shell’s plans in this space.”
Last month, ZeroAvia completed its first demonstration flight with the 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft equipped with the British company’s ZA600 hydrogen-electric propulsion system. The flight took place from the ZeroAvia R&D facility at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire (UK) and lasted 10 minutes. During the demonstration, the H2 Dornier successfully performed all taxi and take-off operations.