The aviation sector is facing a double challenge. COVID-19 has cost the airline industry an estimated $370 billion, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
A new generation of innovators is coming to the fore, including zero-emission aviation specialists, ZeroAvia.
ZeroAvia hopes its hydrogen-electric fueled powertrain technology will replace conventional engines in commercial planes for aircraft of all sizes. Initially, it targets an 800m range in 10 – 20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, cargo, and agriculture.
The company is based in the UK and US, and has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is on track for commercial operations in 2024.
Instead of fuel, the jets run on green hydrogen and emit water vapors on taking flight. Adoption of such technology could spell not just zero-emission flights, but also lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Founder and CEO Val Miftaknov says: “We are hoping to become one of the major engine manufacturers for the new sustainable aviation.”
The UK’s national carrier British Airways is part of a collective that has invested $24.3 million in ZeroAvia to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050.