ZeroAvia Announces New Deals With Irish, Indian Aviation Companies

ZeroAvia runway

ZeroAvia has announced two new partnerships in its quest to develop clean solutions for aviation.

The world’s leading developer of zero-emission aviation technologies added new partnerships with companies in Ireland and India. The news comes on the heels of a recent partnership announcement with Alaska Airlines.

ZeroAvia focuses on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions. Initially, the company plans 500-mile flights on nine- to 19-seat commercial aircraft for passengers, cargo, and agriculture. The company, based in the U.K. and the U.S., plans commercial operations in 2024. ZeroAvia has certificates from U.K. and U.S. federal aviation authorities for two prototype aircraft.

Zeroavia plane open hood

Partnership to Provide Cargo Planes With ZeroAvia Powertrain

In early November, ZeroAvia announced an agreement with ASL Aviation Holdings, headquartered in Dublin. The agreement calls for hydrogen-electric engine conversions for ATR72 freighter aircraft.

The project will ultimately include an order for ZeroAvia to convert up to 10 of ASL’s ATR freighter aircraft. The conversions will lead to cargo planes using hydrogen-electric propulsion with zero emissions.

ASL Aviation Holdings is a global aviation services company with airlines in Asia, Europe, and South Africa. The deal calls for ASL Airlines Ireland to provide ZeroAvia with a retired ATR72F aircraft. ZeroAvia will use the plane for program development and as a demonstrator aircraft.

ASL will use the technology to convert other aircraft used in freight operations. The carrier will launch zero-emission hydrogen-electric-powered operations by 2026.

ZeroAvia and ASL Aviation Holdings are members of the ASL CargoVision Forum. That initiative seeks to drive innovation and sustainability in the air cargo industry.

Zeroavia plane takeoff

The companies noted that the hydrogen-electric powertrain technology could reduce emissions regionally in areas where connectivity is a critical issue.

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia’s CEO and founder, believes the partnership is groundbreaking. Miftakhov said the ASL partnership will lead to some of the world’s earliest commercial freight operations using hydrogen-electric propulsion.

ZeroAvia and ASL will collaborate on the ZA2000 Powertrain. The engine uses a 2-5 megawatt powertrain for aircraft that typically have 40 to 90 seats. ZeroAvia will retrofit the ATR72 aircraft using a hydrogen fuel cell and electric motor powertrain.

To address refueling needs, ZeroAvia is working to scale its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE). The U.K.’s Department for Transport recently awarded ZeroAvia a grant for liquid-hydrogen refueling in airports.

Indian Deal Expands Sustainable Aviation Presence in Asia

In November, ZeroAvia also announced a deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The company is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company.

The HAL deal calls for the development of hydrogen-electric powertrains for 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft capable of flying up to 500 nautical miles. The deal includes plans for the companies to develop a Supplemental Type Certificate. That certification allows for the retrofitting of existing aircraft frames for use in both Indian military and worldwide operations.

HAL also plans to build new aircraft, dubbed Hindustan-228, which would use zero-emission engines.

ZeroAvia and HAL engineers will integrate the ZA600 powertrain into the Dornier 228 airframe. ZeroAvia committed to working with HAL and aircraft regulators to ensure the aircraft meet safety and operational requirements.

Apurba Roy, general manager of HAL’s Transport Aircraft Division, hailed the partnership. Roy praised ZeroAvia for playing a leading role globally in the development of practical zero-emission aircraft.

HAL is a world leader in technology transfer with the Dorner 228 airframe, dating back to 1983. It has produced main subassemblies and more than 150 Dornier aircraft, including those used by the Indian military.

That expertise appealed to Miftakhov. The experience with the Dornier 228 will be essential for ZeroAvia’s flight test aircraft.

ZeroAvia fuel cell diagram

Miftakhov also wants to use the partnership to do more than certify the engine. ZeroAvia wants to provide a Supplemental Type Certificate solution for operators across the world. The U.S. Federal Aviation Agency issues those certificates for approved modifications of a product’s original design.

ZeroAvia had been working with the Dornier 228 well before the HAL deal. The company has a Dormier 228 at its Cotswold Airport facility in the U.K. That plane is being used as part of the HyFlyer II project. That project’s goal is to put a 600kW powertrain in a 19-seat aircraft. ZeroAvia has completed a successful ground test of the project. It plans to begin flight testing the Dornier 228 soon and aims for commercial service by 2024.

HyFlyer II funding is in part provided by several U.K. agencies, including the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.

The latest news adds to ZeroAvia’s active year in partnerships.

In late October, the company announced a partnership with Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA). That deal aims to create the world’s first hydrogen-electric international passenger route, using 19-seat aircraft such as HAL’s 228.

ZeroAvia also recently signed a deal with Alaska Air Group to scale up hydrogen-electric propulsion. The Alaska Air deal would put the powertrains in a full-size De Havilland Q400 aircraft that carries up to 76 passengers.