Hydrogen fuel cell planes preparing for takeoff following British testingJune 26, 2020
ZeroAvia is planning to launch commercial H2 powered flights as early as 2023.
A company that plans to begin offering flights on hydrogen fuel cell planes by 2023 completed its first “commercial scale” electric test flight in the UK this week.
The test flight was made by a six-seater Piper which took off from Cranfield airport.
The test flight was a component of a larger strategy that will lead up to a 250 to 300 nautical mile trip using hydrogen fuel cell planes. This HyFlyer project’s main test will take place this summer in Orkney, according to ZeroAvia, the company behind the project.
ZeroAvia believes that aircraft are the best vehicles for H2 use when taking into consideration that this form of transportation has a relatively high energy intensity and usage. It is also favorable for this type of fuel because the refuelling infrastructure can be focused on a small number of concentrated locations at commercial airports.
Hydrogen fuel cell planes would also have a longer lifespan they would with electric battery power.
According to ZeroAvia founder and CEO, Valery Miftakhov, standard electric rechargeable batteries – if they were to become light and dense enough to make sense for commercial airlines – would see much faster degradation due to cycling intensity.
As a result, Miftakhov believes that the aviation industry will be where H2 comes into its own. He said that it will be what “propels hydrogen into the mainstream as a transportation fuel,” as opposed to light commercial vehicles and personal cars. In those areas, electric batteries have already been making headway in the zero-emission vehicle race.
The company believes that it will be able to provide commercially relevant, certified 10 to 20 seat configurations that are H2 powered with adequate storage, within the next three years. It also predicts that it will be able to achieve 50 to 100 seat configuration flight before 2030.
ZeroAvia has indicated that hydrogen fuel cell planes with configurations of over 200 seats will be able to provide flights longer than 3,000 nautical miles before 2040. It also underscored that all these predictions will be able to come into fruition even without any additional substantial scientific breakthroughs.