Alaska Airlines Donates A Retired Aircraft To Zero-Avia To Develop Hydrogen Tech

Alaska Airlines Donates A Retired Aircraft To Zero-Avia To Develop Hydrogen Tech - Carbon Herald
Credit: Joe Nicholson-Alaska Airlines

Zero-Avia – a leader in zero-emission hydrogen-electric aviation technology, has unveiled several milestones. On Monday, May 1st, Zero-Avia and Alaska Airlines announced their partnership to develop hydrogen-electric flight technology. 

Alaska Airlines will give one of its retired aircraft – a 76-seat Q400 to Zero-Avia that will be retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system in an effort to expand the reach and applicability of zero emissions flight technology.

Relevant: ZeroAvia Signs Deal With Otto Aviation To Power Its New Hydrogen Aircraft

At an official event held on Monday at Zero-Avia’s Paine Field research and development site, Alaska Airlines formally handed over the aircraft to Zero-Avia. The event was attended by high school students from Raisbeck Aviation High School, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. The aircraft was repainted with a special livery to highlight the innovative mission of this partnership.

Credit: Joe Nicholson-Alaska Airlines

“As we work to meet our emissions reduction goals, we must prioritize decarbonizing the commercial transportation sector. Washington state is leading the nation in developing and deploying clean energy technologies and the Alaska Airlines-Zero-Avia partnership is a prime example. This collaboration could revolutionize the aviation industry to make our planes greener and our skies cleaner,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01).

At the event, Zero-Avia also debuted its breakthrough multi-megawatt modular electric motor system in a 1.8MW prototype configuration – demonstrated with a propeller spin aboard the Zero-Avia’s 15-ton HyperTruck ground-test rig. 

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The motor is combined with higher-temperature PEM fuel cells and advanced power electronics, technologies developed in-house by the hydrogen company. The motor technology is one of three key building blocks for enabling commercially-relevant hydrogen fuel cell engines for larger aircraft.

These recent developments also demonstrate rapid progress toward the certification of the ZA2000 propulsion system. Zero-Avia’s ZA2000 hydrogen-electric propulsion system could power airliners seating up to 80 passengers. 

Back in January, Zero-Avia flew a retrofitted 19-seat aircraft with its prototype 600kW hydrogen-electric engine (ZA600). The test flight followed the demonstration flight of a 250kW system in 2020, which at the time of flight was the world’s largest aircraft flown using a novel zero-emission power source.

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