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ZeroAvia test-flies largest airplane but powered by hydrogen-electric engine

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ZeroAvia has flown what the aviation firm claims is the biggest plane but to be run on a zero-emissions hydrogen-electric engine, testing a 19-seater airplane over the skies of England.

The corporate flew a modified 19-seat Dornier 228 twin-engine plane with one prototype hydrogen-electric engine retrofitted on its left wing and a daily gasoline turbine engine, a Honeywell TPE-331, on its proper wing.

The take a look at flight noticed the airplane take off, fly and land at ZeroAvia’s R&D facility at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire on 19 January.

ZeroAvia has test-flown a airplane retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric engine

In response to ZeroAvia, the flight reveals the British-American firm is on monitor to run its first hydrogen-powered business flight by 2025, with the purpose of finally scaling up the know-how to bigger planes.

“It is a main second, not only for ZeroAvia however for the aviation trade as a complete, because it reveals that true zero-emission business flight is only some years away,” stated ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. “Our method is the very best answer to speed up clear aviation at scale.”

ZeroAvia makes use of hydrogen gas cells, one in all two main hydrogen-based applied sciences being explored for flight together with the hydrogen combustion engine.

Photo of a white and blue painted turboprop plane with ZeroAvia branding on the side taking off from a runway
The airplane took off and landed at ZeroAvia’s base in south-west England

In gas cells, hydrogen is used to supply electrical energy and that electrical energy powers the propeller, as an alternative of the hydrogen being burnt like in a combustion engine. The method generates no emissions in addition to water vapour.

ZeroAvia deployed its prototype engine in a testing configuration that featured two gas cell stacks together with lithium-ion battery packs to offer additional assist for takeoff and backup energy.

The gas cells and hydrogen tanks had been housed contained in the cabin of the airplane, the place the seats would often be. However finally, they are going to should be saved externally.

The corporate performed the flight take a look at below what it describes because the “stringent” necessities for a Half 21 plane flight allow with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, which the corporate says alerts its readiness for business certification.

ZeroAvia says that below these situations, the take a look at flight locations the corporate on the direct path to a certifiable configuration to be finalised and submitted for approval in 2023.

ZeroAvia is likely one of the present leaders within the race to develop hydrogen engines to decarbonise airplane journey. The prototype examined was developed as a part of the corporate’s HyFlyer II mission, which is supported by the UK authorities’s Aerospace Expertise Institute and targets the event of a 600-kilowatt powertrain.

Photo of two men hugging next to a small aircraft
Pilot Jon Killerby and ZeroAvia Europe head Sergey Kiselev led the take a look at flight

Concurrently, the corporate can also be creating a two-to-five megawatt powertrain that scales the know-how for plane with as much as 90 seats.

Hydrogen engine know-how is evolving quickly, with many airways and aerospace corporations engaged in improvement and testing.

Not too long ago, EasyJet and engineering firm Rolls-Royce performed a floor take a look at of a modified business plane engine run on hydrogen combustion, whereas Airbus has beforehand revealed three idea designs for hydrogen-powered plane.

A problem for the know-how is the dimensions of the hydrogen tanks required, which has made critics doubt that it may well ever be used for jet planes or lengthy journeys.

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