Category Archives: ZeroAvia

De Havilland Canada and ZeroAvia sign MOU to develop hydrogen-electric engine for Dash 8-400 aircraft

ZeroAvia, the leading innovator in zero-emission aviation powertrains, and  De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a line-fit and retrofit program for De Havilland Canada’s aircraft models, using hydrogen-electric propulsion in both new and in-service aircraft.

As part of the MOU, De Havilland Canada will be issued options to purchase 50 ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric engines. These options will be confirmed once a definitive agreement has been completed between De Havilland Canada and ZeroAvia.

The companies intend to work together on a service bulletin for the Dash 8-400 type certificate offering ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engine as a line-fit option for new aircraft, as well as developing an OEM-approved retrofit program for in-service aircraft. This program will target the use of ZeroAvia’s 2MW+ powertrain (ZA2000) for Dash 8-400 aircraft. The Dash 8-400 is one of the world’s most reliable turboprop aircraft with more than 625 delivered to customers. The global fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft has logged over 11 million flight hours and transported more than 550 million passengers.

As part of the program, ZeroAvia will develop a flight demonstrator, with De Havilland Canada’s support, using a Dash 8-400 aircraft to aid certification and showcase the operational and commercial potential of the engine. The intention is to identify a suitable existing route utilising the aircraft and aim for entry into service within the next five years. ZeroAvia and De Havilland Canada intend to jointly market aircraft powered by the hydrogen-electric engines to operators with power-by-the-hour (PBH) support.

In October, ZeroAvia announced a development collaboration with Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, for a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles, starting with initial deployment into a full-size Dash 8-400 aircraft.

ZeroAvia expects to fly a 19-seat aircraft using its ZA600 powertrain in the coming weeks in a hybrid configuration (one conventional engine, one hydrogen-electric) before flying the same aircraft using only hydrogen-electric engines in 2022 and building to certification by 2024. On its ZA2000 program, ZeroAvia aims to have full thrust ground demonstrations of its 1.8MW engine variant by the end of 2022. From there, the company plans certification of its ZA2000 powertrain to support 40-80 seat aircraft with a potential range in excess of 700 nautical miles – about the distance from Toronto to Atlanta – by 2026, and eventually extending into aircraft up to 90 seats by 2027.

United becomes largest airline to invest in zero-emission engines for regional aircraft

United today became the largest airline to invest in zero-emission, hydrogen-electric engines for regional aircraft, the latest move toward achieving its goal to be 100% green by reducing its GHG emissions 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets.

United Airlines logo. (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Through a new equity stake in ZeroAvia, a leading company focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions, United expects to buy up to 100 of the company’s new zero-emission, 100% hydrogen-electric engines (ZA2000-RJ). The engine could be retrofit to existing United Express aircraft as early as 2028. One potential use is on United’s unique CRJ-550, the only 50-seat aircraft which offers first class and other premium amenities, making this leading aircraft even better and marking another first for United.

“Hydrogen-electric engines are one of the most promising paths to zero-emission air travel for smaller aircraft, and this investment will keep United out in front on this important emerging technology,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United. “United continues to look for opportunities to not only advance our own sustainability initiatives but also identify and help technologies and solutions that the entire industry can adopt.”

Hydrogen-electric engines use electricity created by a chemical reaction in a fuel cell to power an electric motor instead of burning fossil fuel. Because no fuel is burned, there are no climate-harming emissions or carbon released into the atmosphere when the engines are operated.

The ZA2000-RJ is expected to be used in pairs as a new power source for existing regional aircraft. Under the agreement with United Airlines Ventures, United will pursue a conditional purchase agreement for 50 ZeroAvia ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option for 50 more, enough for up to 50 twin-engine aircraft which would be operated by United Express partners once they are fully developed and certified by regulators as soon as 2028.

ZeroAvia is accelerating development of its ZA2000 engine and will soon begin ground tests of its ZA600 in a 19-seat aircraft, with the aim of entering commercial service with this smaller engine by 2024. ZeroAvia’s roadmap calls for it to develop hydrogen-electric propulsion for progressively larger aircraft. In September 2020, ZeroAvia completed the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for two prototype aircraft from the FAA in the United States and the Civil Aviation Authority in the U.K. and has passed significant flight test milestones.

On December 1, United made aviation history by operating the first passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel, from Chicago to Washington, D.C. The flight showcased the safety of sustainable aviation fuel and the potential for a dramatically reduced carbon footprint for aviation.

2021 "SAF - Sustainable Aviation Fuel" special livery

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N77259 (msn 43462) (Connecting the world. Ensuring a better future) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 956112.

Earlier this year, United announced a record-setting agreement to purchase sustainable aviation fuel from Alder Fuels and has now committed to purchase more than twice as much of this fuel as the rest of the world’s airlines combined.

These investments and the accomplishments below make United the global aviation leader in supporting technology used to sustainably power commercial aircraft:

  • United recently agreed to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of SAF from Alder Fuels – enough to fly more than 57 million passengers and is also an investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, where United has an option to purchase up to 900 million gallons of additional SAF.
  • In July 2021, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) announced that along with Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Mesa Airlines, it has invested in electric aircraft startup Heart Aerospace. Heart Aerospace is developing the ES-19, a 19-seat electric aircraft that has the potential to fly customers with zero emissions when powered by renewable electricity.
  • In July 2021, Air Transport World magazine named United its Eco-Airline of the Year for the third time.
  • In June 2021, as part of its agreement with Boom Supersonic, United announced plans to purchase 15 of Boom’s “Overture” airliners (with an option for 35 more). Slated to carry passengers in 2029, the net-zero aircraft plans to fly on 100% SAF.
  • In February 2021, United announced an agreement to work with Archer Aviation to accelerate the development and production of their electric aircraft – an urban mobility solution that has the potential to serve as an ‘air taxi,’ giving United customers another opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint before they even board a United flight.
  • In 2020, United became the first airline to announce a commitment to invest in direct air capture, a carbon capture and sequestration technology. United remains committed to investing in carbon capture and sequestration as a key pathway to achieving its climate goals.
  • In 2019, United operated the Flight for the Planet, which represented the most-eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of commercial aviation.
  • In 2018, United became the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing its GHG emissions, by 50% by 2050. This goal has since been superseded by the airline’s 100% green commitment.
  • In 2016, United became the first airline globally to use SAF in regular operations on a continuous basis with SAF from World Energy.

United Airlines aircraft slide show:

First commercial hydrogen-electric flight between London and Rotterdam The Hague Airport expected in 2024

The aviation sector is planning zero emission commercial passenger flights between Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) and London with a 19-seater aircraft in 2024.

The aircraft, currently under development by ZeroAvia, will fly entirely on hydrogen. ZeroAvia, Royal Schiphol Group, Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport Foundation and the airport itself have announced a partnership to realize this ambition today.

ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group will collaborate on testing and demonstrating hydrogen supply chain refueling operations and integration with airport operations.

The deal sets a solid timeline for the launch of the first zero emission commercial passenger flights between the UK and the Netherlands, and potentially the first international commercial operation in the world. ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group are in advanced partnership talks with airlines to agree on an operator for the planned route.

Through the partnership to deliver this commercial route, ZeroAvia and Royal Schiphol Group will collaborate on testing and demonstrating hydrogen supply chain refuelling operations and integration with airport operations. The two companies will also focus on ensuring the pathway for commercially adopting hydrogen-electric aviation, including establishing the right regulatory framework and understanding industry and public appetite for zero emissions flight powered by hydrogen.

ZeroAvia recently established a legal entity in the Netherlands. This will enable the company to create opportunities for commercialization and partnership with airports, airframe manufacturers and/or airlines, within the Netherlands and wider European Union.

New technology

ZeroAvia has focused its R&D on developing a hydrogen-electric powertrain – using hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors – as a viable way to tackle aviation’s climate change impacts at scale. With the hydrogen-electric system ZeroAvia is pioneering, the only emission is water vapour at manageable temperatures, allowing for sustainable flights.

Hydrogen-electric propulsion will have the additional benefit of lower operating costs, making routes more attractive to airlines and airports and passengers.