ZeroAvia: decarbonising UK commercial aviation and operating Europe’s largest zero-emission plane

ZeroAvia, the leading company in decarbonising commercial aviation, has successfully conducted the first flight of the new battery-electric powered commercial-scale plane, Piper M-class, from its base in Cranfield, UK.

The UK based company set a ‘significant milestone’ in demonstrating long-distance zero-emission flights by a large aircraft, putting the UK on the right path to achieving its net-zero and green aviation goals.

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO, said:

This flight is the latest in a series of milestones that moves the possibility of zero emission flight closer to reality.”

ZeroAvia’s innovation programme in the UK is part of the UK Government-backed Project HyFlyer, funded by  Innovate UK and the Aerospace R&T programme run by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). 

Dr Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer, ATI, said:

The ATI is delighted to see the first flight of ZeroAvia’s battery-electric aircraft at Cranfield. 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.”

According to a press release from ZeroAvia, Project HyFlyer aims to decarbonise medium-range passenger aircraft. Conventional engines in propeller aircraft will be replaced with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and gas storage. 

ZeroAvia’s solution to decarbonising the aviation sector aims to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine, but with zero carbon emissions and at approximately half of the operating costs.

ZeroAvia is also collaborating with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which is supporting the development of the infrastructure needed to fuel the aircraft with green hydrogen, at Cranfield. For this project, leading fuel cell engineering company, Intelligent Energy is adapting its proprietary high-power evaporatively cooled fuel cell technology for aviation use. 

The HighFlyer Project is also a key step towards ZeroAvia achieving its goal of supplying commercial operators and aircraft manufacturers with this new carbon reducing technology by 2023. Starting with up to 500-mile regional flights in 10 to 20-seat fixed-wing aircraft. 

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO, said:

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.”

The benefits of hydrogen electric in aircrafts   

ZeroAvia is focused on developing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Hydrogen-electric offers the same zero-emission potential of battery-electric, but with a more balanced energy-to-weight ratio making it suitable for commercial operations at a much larger scale and within a shorter time frame. Additionally, hydrogen-electric powertrain is estimated to have lower operating costs than the battery cycling in typical high-utilization regional aircrafts. 

CleanTech News celebrates this breakthrough in clean aviation as carbon pollution from aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions fuelling global climate change. 

Lina Kurdi

Lina Kurdi is an Editor and Senior Writer at CleanTech News with a primary focus on renewable energy. Lina became interested in sustainability initiatives in 2012, when news of global warming dominated the headlines. From then on, Lina has paid close attention to cleantech developments and the impact they have on protecting the Earth and all its inhabitants. With a particular interest in energy, Lina passionately believes renewable energy is the way forward into a sustainable future with net zero emissions.