Cranfield Airport in June and another YASA first: today marks the first ever flight of Europe’s largest zero-emission plane. The aircraft, aptly named the HyFlyer, is powered by two stacked YASA-750 electric motors and hydrogen fuel cells. Behind this moment in aviation history is ZeroAvia – a company focused on developing a hydrogen powertrain for aviation.
ZeroAvia’s goal is to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine, but with zero carbon emissions and around half a conventional aircraft’s operating costs. Beyond HyFlyer, ZeroAvia has a roadmap to deliver the powertrains for commercial 10-20 seat aircraft within the next three years and 50-100 seat aircraft by the end of the decade. By 2040, the company projects we’ll see fully-electric, 200 plus seater commercial aircraft, capable of ranges in excess of 3,000 nautical miles.
“Today’s flight is the latest in a series of milestones that moves the possibility of zero emission flight closer to reality,” says Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO. “We all want the aviation industry to come back after the pandemic on a firm footing to be able to move to a net zero future, with a green recovery. That will not be possible without realistic, commercial options for zero emission flight, something we will bring to market as early as 2023.”
ZeroAvia’s innovation programme in the UK is part of the UK Government-backed Project HyFlyer. Funded through Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI)-led Aerospace R&T programme, Project HyFlyer aims to decarbonise medium-range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in propeller aircraft.
“The ATI is delighted to see the first flight of ZeroAvia’s battery-electric aircraft at Cranfield,” says Dr Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer, ATI. “This exciting ATI funded project is the next step in an effort to develop a commercial zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial aircraft in the UK.”
“It’s thrilling to see this multi-partner project take to the skies, powered by YASA electric motor technology,” says Ajay Lukha, YASA’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We’ve long known that the efficiency and weight savings our electric motors deliver opens up completely new aviation opportunities, so we’re excited to see OEM customers like ZeroAvia harness our technology’s potential to enable fully-electric commercial flight.”
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, flying the world’s largest zero-emission aircraft without any fossil fuel support since the spring of 2019. Its focus is the design and commercialization of hydrogen-powered aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting short-haul 10-20-seat commercial flights up to 500 miles, air taxis, package delivery and more. To date, ZeroAvia has secured FAA experimental certificates for its air taxi prototypes, passed significant flight tests, and is on track for commercial deliveries by 2023. For more, please visit ZeroAvia.com, follow @ZeroAvia on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Image courtesy ZeroAvia.