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Largest aircraft but examined with hydrogen-powered engine

Aerospace firm ZeroAvia efficiently examined utilizing a hydrogen-electric engine to energy one of many propellors in a 19-seat plane


20 January 2023

ZeroAvia's test plane

ZeroAvia’s check aircraft


A aircraft with an experimental hydrogen-electric engine on its left wing efficiently accomplished a check flight this week. It’s the largest such craft to be powered with the assistance of a hydrogen engine but.

The UK and US-based firm ZeroAvia performed a 10-minute check flight utilizing an engine that converts hydrogen gas into electrical energy to energy one of many aircraft’s two propellers. ZeroAvia goals to allow business flights powered solely by hydrogen gas cells by 2025.

“When individuals see that we will do a zero-emission flight with a clear gas that we will create in so many locations, wherever there’s electrical energy and water, that adjustments individuals’s minds about issues,” says Jacob Leachman at Washington State College.

The demonstration at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire, UK, additionally marked the primary flight for the 19-seat Dornier 228 plane that had been transformed right into a check plane. It’s a considerably bigger plane than the six-seat Piper Malibu that ZeroAvia has been utilizing for testing the hydrogen-electric engine since 2020.

If all goes effectively with subsequent assessments, ZeroAvia goals to submit the hydrogen-electric engine for regulatory certification in 2023. That would additionally pave the way in which for a bigger engine appropriate for 90-seat plane.

“There have been assessments of hydrogen gas cell-based plane at smaller scale, and anytime we get to display bigger energy ranges in larger plane, we study,” says Kiruba Haran on the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The aviation start-up already has funding from American Airways together with an settlement for the potential of ordering as much as 100 hydrogen-electric engines sooner or later.

Airbus, one of many two largest plane producers on the planet, additionally beforehand introduced plans to make use of hydrogen gas in growing the primary zero-emission business plane by 2035. However Airbus has acknowledged that the majority business airliners would nonetheless use gasoline turbine engines till a minimum of 2050.

Shifting business aviation towards actually zero-emission flights would require way more than simply exchanging conventional jet gas for hydrogen gas. The manufacturing of hydrogen gas additionally requires electrical energy that will nonetheless come from an influence grid working on fossil fuels – though researchers are trying into methods of producing hydrogen extra cleanly in high-enough portions for powering fleets of plane.

“While you actually take a look at attempting to go to sustainable hydrogen-based aviation, it’s a must to determine the way you’re going to get the hydrogen at scale,” says John Hansman on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how. “And we’re speaking quite a lot of hydrogen.”

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