14 Mar 2023
On May 10, ZeroAvia announced that it had signed an agreement with Shell covering various aspects of hydrogen resupply. Shell, already a strategic investor in ZeroAvia, will design and build two commercial-scale mobile refuelers for ZeroAvia’s research site in Hollister, California, where Shell will also provide compressed, low-carbon hydrogen to other sites in the western US. Also on May 10, ZeroAvia said it unveiled a 325-ft (100-m)-long hydrogen pipeline at Cotswold Airport in the UK, Europe’s first such pipeline, according to the company. These projects are helping ZeroAvia explore issues associated with the transportation and supply of hydrogen at airports. “Fuel provision needs to be economical and convenient for airlines to achieve operational cost benefits,” Arnab Chatterjee, vice president for infrastructure at ZeroAvia, said in a statement. “ZeroAvia is leading these pioneering infrastructure developments together with leading partners like Shell.”
Subsequently, ZeroAvia revealed two partnerships designed at expanding its appeal to regional airliners. On May 25, ZeroAvia said that it has partnered with MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ) on certifying its hydrogen-electric powertrains for retrofitting aircraft for regional jet markets. Under the agreement, MHIRJ will provide engineering and support services for ZeroAvia’s plans to certify its 600-kW ZA600 powertrain for 10–20-seat aircraft, which is expected to begin commercial service in 2024.
ZeroAvia is also working on a 2-5-MW modular powertrain, the ZA2000, for regional jets. Then, on June 8, ZeroAvia announced that it has entered into an agreement with Monte Aircraft Leasing for 100 ZA600 powertrains. Monte, a zero-emissions regional turboprop aircraft lessor, intends to install the powertrains on Cessna Caravan, DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier 228 and HAL-228 aircraft. ZeroAvia is expected to begin flight testing the ZA600 powertrain on a retrofitted Dornier 228 (G-HFZA) “soon,” according to the company, which has now received a second twin-engine 19-seat Dornier 228 (N409VA) at its headquarters in Hollister, California (shown).