Monday, June 17, 2024

ZeroAvia to test 19-seat hydrogen-electric aircraft in California

A British clean aviation company ZeroAvia has received its second twin-engine 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft at its headquarters in Hollister, California. The new U.S. initiative will take the system developed in the UK HyFlyer II project and integrate it into the same type of aircraft. It will serve as the basis for testing new components and integrations as well as a testbed for working with the FAA ahead of the ZA600 engine’s planned certification in 2024.

Last year, ZeroAvia conducted the first program ground test of its HyFlyer II program and successfully tested the flight-intent 600 kW powertrain with its 15-ton HyperTruck mobile ground testing platform. The HyperTrack will also support testing the company’s larger planned powertrain, the ZA2000, a 1.8 MW system for aircraft with 40 to 80 seats. The ZA2000 engine, the largest of ZeroAvia’s powertrain platforms, is capable of producing between 2,000 kW and 5,000 kW.

Until then, ZeroAvia is aiming for the FAA for the ZA600 engines by 2024. The company will work towards a hybrid engine configuration that incorporates both the company’s hydrogen-electric powertrain and a conventional engine into the aircraft. After the engine is configured, it will enter into the flight testing and demonstration program, spanning passenger, cargo, and industrial use cases over the next two months.

In addition to this, the company will be expanding its facility at Hollister to ensure adequate staff and resources to reach planned milestones. It has added a new 15,000 square foot hangar to its footprint at the airfield, enabling space for conducting engineering work on the aircraft and its HyperTruck testbed platform, as well as ample office space to support its growing operations.

ZeroAvia is also working on a future hydrogen refueling network at airports in California, together with ZEV Station. It also received funding from major airlines, Alaska Air Group and United Airlines, to accelerate the development of its ZA2000 engine.

“This new project in California will allow us to use architectures from our Hyflyer II initiative, where we are working with the same aircraft, and apply those lessons as we further test and demonstrate the system across a number of different use cases,” said Val Miftakhov, a CEO and founder of ZeroAvia. “Ultimately, this will help us optimize our zero-emission powertrain design ahead of certification. This year we will have two demonstration aircraft flying on two continents powered by our hydrogen-electric powertrains, which will further help us secure partner and customer commitments across the worldwide aviation industry.”