ZERO EMISSIONS, HYDROGEN POWERED E-PLANES
|Source: ZeroAvia's hydrogen powered electric plane|
Carbon Free, Sustainable Flying
ZeroAvia, headquartered in Hollister, CA, is building aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It recently flew a modified aircraft with a 350 horsepower powertrain, driven by hydrogen fuel cells. The US company is part of the UK's HyFlyer initiative which is targeted at moving electric aircraft away from batteries toward fuel cells.
ZeroAvia argues that hydrogen fuel cells are highly effective and efficient for electric planes. They are far lighter and less volatile than batteries. In fact the ignition point for hydrogen is much higher than for jet fuel or lithium-ion batteries. Because hydrogen is so light, it tends to disperse rather than collect. Most importantly an electric powertrain powered by hydrogen fuel cells is twice as efficient as an internal combustion engine.
The current drag on the use of hydrogen fuel cells for electric planes is not the technology. It is the lack of regulatory standards, which needs to be addressed. In the meantime, ZeroAvia will have a 10 to 20 seat aircraft on the market by 2023. And, they believe 200 seat hydrogen aircraft travelling 3000 miles will be operational within 20 years.