Tuesday, April 16, 2024

ZeroAvia unveils world’s first compressor for aviation propulsion systems

Hydrogen fuel cells deliver true zero-emission flight through electrification. However, the main challenge is delivering a high oxygen flow for the stack’s chemical reactions to provide enough electricity to power the aircraft.

At high altitudes, the air compressor must be powerful and efficient while not adding unnecessary weight to the propulsion system and thereby affecting payload and range.

To overcome this problem, zero-emission aviation company ZeroAvia has unveiled the world’s first high-efficiency compressor specifically designed and tested to comply with all hydrogen fuel cell-powered aviation propulsion systems requirements.

The ZeroAvia compressor is also designed to operate without latency through an innovative flow management method. The compressor runs on the power provided by the core electric propulsion system and eliminates the need for additional inverters and electric motors normally required in fuel cell systems.

The reduction in components means less weight and more reliability. This weight-efficient system with stable performance across various parameters makes ZeroAvia’s compressor technology an excellent solution for high-power and high-altitude transportation applications.

The compressor supports fuel cell systems up to 900kW, which is many times more powerful than any existing fuel cell compressor and offers higher power density.

ZeroAvia compressor is designed to meet all environmental conditions and aerospace standards, and the company plans to begin certification testing next year.

Initial testing of the ZeroAvia compressor shows that it delivers stable performance over a wide range of power and operating environment requirements.

ZeroAvia will integrate the compressor technology as a core part of the ZA600 powertrain for 9-19 seat aircraft targeting entry-in-service by 2025 and the ZA2000 for 40-80 seat aircraft with EIS targeted for 2027.

Rudolf Coertze, CTO of Hydrogen, ZeroAvia, said: “The compressor technology we have designed is critical in delivering optimal performance in the final, certified ZA600 engine technology. Our compressor is an important component of our fuel cell power generation systems and a world-leading technology advancement for clean aviation in its own right. This really is a major achievement for our turbomachinery engineers and another marquee moment for the company at large.”