British Airways has teamed up with hydrogen-electric aviation solutions firm Zeroavia, in a project to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying.
Zeroavia completed “the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-size aircraft” in September this year, with a Piper M-class six-seat.
In 2021, ZeroAvia expects to further demonstrate the credibility of its technology at longer ranges and using larger aircraft. The company expects to achieve the commercialisation of hydrogen-electric power for aircraft as early as 2023 with flights of up to 500-miles in up to 20-seater aircraft. By 2027, it plans to have powerplants in service capable of powering commercial flights of over 500-miles in aircraft with up to 100 seats and by 2030 more than 1,000-miles in aircraft with 100+ seats.
Both British Airways and ZeroAvia are part of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry to drive forward the UK Government’s net zero-emission ambitions for the aviation and aerospace sector.
Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said:
British Airways is committed to a sustainable future and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the short-term this means improving our operational efficiency and introducing carbon offset and removal projects, while in the medium to longer term we’re investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at how we can help accelerate the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft.
Sergey Kiselev, ZeroAvia’s Head of Europe, said:
ZeroAvia’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to truly zero emissions flight and we believe hydrogen is the best way to quickly and practically achieve this. Earlier this year, we proved that passengers will soon be able to board an emissions free, hydrogen-powered aircraft for commercial services. In the years to come, we will scale that technology up to power larger aircraft over longer distances.
Earlier this year Airbus unveiled a new project codenamed ZEROe, with which it hopes to bring zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled commercial aircraft into service by 2035.