ZeroAvia, a California-based start-up founded by airplane and helicopter pilot Val Miftakhov, has made significant advancements in developing a zero-emission, hydrogen-fuelled electric plane.
The hydrogen-powered plane is expected to deliver the same performance as conventional aircrafts at a lower operating cost.
The company plans start supplying its powertrain to commercial operators and aircraft manufacturers by 2022, initially targeting up to 500-mile regional flights in 10-20 seat fixed-wing aircraft.
“With land transport rapidly decarbonising, fast-growing air transport is quickly becoming the leading emission source, so we must find ways to make aviation more sustainable,” said Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO of ZeroAvia.
“Using hydrogen produced from local renewable energy is the most practical way to enable zero-emission aircraft of commercially meaningful size on traditional 300 to 500-mile regional missions.”
“We calculate the total costs of operating a ZeroAvia aircraft to be close to half of what it costs to fly a conventional turbine aircraft, due to lower fuel input costs, higher powertrain efficiency, and reduced maintenance costs.”
The company is currently flight testing its powertrain prototype in a Piper M-Class airframe.
“Aviation is the fastest-growing segment of transport emissions, set to nearly double by 2050 under current trends,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, Founding Partner at SYSTEMIQ, an advisory and investment firm.
ZeroAvia is initially targeting 500-mile flights to serve the short-haul and commuter air travel markets, which make up nearly half the commercial flights worldwide.