A California manufacturer named ZeroAvia has just paved a significantly bigger path toward the mass use of sustainable aviation fuel with a Dornier 228.
On Thursday, January 19, 2023, ZeroAvia successfully flew the world's largest hydrogen-electric powered aircraft. The 19-seat Dornier 228 departed from Cotswold Airport in the UK at 1:53 p.m. local time and completed tests at 2,000 feet before landing just ten minutes later. The company retrofitted the Do228 with a hydrogen-electric power train on its left wing and a Honeywell TPE-331 on the right.
ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftahkov said in a statement:
"This is a major moment, not just for ZeroAvia, but for the aviation industry as a whole, as it shows that true zero-emission commercial flight is only a few years away. The first flight of our 19-seat aircraft shows just how scalable our technology is and highlights the rapid progress of zero-emission propulsion."
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Miftahkov also said:
"Our approach is the best solution to accelerate clean aviation at scale. Congratulations to everyone on our team and all of our partners and stakeholders for the collective effort that brought us to this monumental day in history."
Aviation is certainly a contributor to global pollution, accounting for approximately 2.5 percent of all carbon emissions. ZeroAvia is working diligently to change that by working towards making aviation a zero-emission mode of transportation. In just 14 months ZeroAvia upgraded from using the six-seat Piper M class to the 19-seat Dornier 228, with plans to make fully hydrogen-electric powered aircraft by 2025.
ZeroAvia Chief Commercial Officer Sergey Kiselev informed CBS MoneyWatch that:
"This flight opened the gate and served as important proof-point that hydrogen-electric is viable, not just on the ground but also in the air, and it is now just a matter of getting certification and putting it in commercial operations. "We proved that it's possible to fly larger aircraft than what we've done so far, which has great commercial implications."
United Airlines had ordered 50 engines from ZeroAvia with plans to adopt a more sustainable fuel for their fleet. All in order to combat carbon emissions. The airline has been known to show deep interest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel throughout the past with various orders of sustainable aircraft. ZeroAvia may pave the way for this dream to become a reality.
Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures said:
"We have invested in hydrogen-electric aircraft because it's going to take a portfolio of solutions to decarbonize air travel, the airline's corporate venture fund that invests in emerging companies."
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Leskinen is fully invested in the sustainable aviation fuel market as this will allow the airline to reopen routes to smaller cities that were shut down due to cost. ZeroAvia envisions the engines being used for shorter flights near the 500-mile mark on aircraft seating roughly 76 people. Due to the cost efficiency and lower maintenance, this will bring back smaller cities to the United Airlines service.
ZeroAvia currently has 1,500 pre-orders expected to be delivered to multiple aviation corporations by 2025. The hydrogen-electric engines have already received certifications from the FAA and U.K. Civil Air Authority which validates the hard work the company is making toward a better future.
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