UK Gives £2.7m Grant to ZeroAvia to Develop Hydrogen Cell Powertrain for Aviation

ZeroAvia's hydrogen fuel cell powertrain aims to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine but with zero carbon emissions and at around half of the operating costs.

ZeroAvia, which is developing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for commercial aviation, has received a £2.7m (USD 3.3 million) grant from the UK Government. The grant will provide support in the development of the principal technology to enable practical, zero-emission aviation in commercial aircraft.

The UK Government grant is part of the ATI program, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and will fund ZeroAvia’s HyFlyer project to demonstrate technology readiness for a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. The Government’s grant is matched by Project HyFlyer participants, making the scope of the project in excess of £5 million (USD 6.2 million).

The HyFlyer project is a key step on ZeroAvia’s plant to supply hydrogen fuel cell powertrain to commercial operators and aircraft manufacturers in 2022. It will initially target up to 500-mile regional flights in 10 to 20-seat fixed-wing aircraft. ZeroAvia’s solution aims to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine but with zero carbon emissions and at around half of the operating costs.

“The substantial backing provided by the UK Government underlines the potential that hydrogen holds as a fuel source for commercial aviation and provides significant validation of ZeroAvia’s approach to zero-emission flight,” said Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO. “Our project goal of 300 NM is equivalent to the distance from London to Edinburgh and will prove that zero-emission aviation, powered by hydrogen, can play a key role within the UK and other countries’ transport strategies – enabling net-zero targets to be met and improving productivity and regional prosperity.”

According to the Air Transport Action Group, aviation is responsible for 12 percent of CO2 emissions from all transport sources and is one of the fastest-growing sources of global emissions.

ZeroAvia is seen as a good step in the clean growth within the United Kingdom’s industrial strategy.

“We are leading the world in tackling climate change, going further and faster by becoming the first major economy to pass new laws for net-zero emissions by 2050. The development of a practical alternative to fossil fuels within aviation has the potential to revolutionize domestic travel not just in the UK, but globally,” said Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Business and Industry) at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK.

According to the company statement, the hydrogen powertrain technology will be tested on a Piper M-Class six-seater aircraft and will culminate in a 250-300 nautical mile (NM) demonstration flight from an Orkney airfield.

ZeroAvia has already demonstrated its technology in test flights in the US and is now also working with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to integrate and certify the hydrogen powertrain technology and perform initial flight tests.

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