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British Airways setting sights on zero emissions aircraft

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British Airways in investing in ZeroAvia in an effort to accelerate the development of a 50+ seater aircraft capable of running on zero emissions hydrogen-electric power.

The airline and a group of investors which include Shell Ventures have invested a total of $24.3mn that will enable ZeroAvia to launch a new development programme to further demonstrate its technology and accelerate the development of a larger hydrogen-electric engine capable of flying further and using larger aircraft as soon as 2026.

ZeroAvia says it could achieve commercialisation for its hydrogen-electric power as early as 2024, with flights of up to 500-miles in aircraft of up to 20 seats. With this new investment, the company is looking to have a 50+ seat commercial aircraft in operation in five years’ time, accelerating the company’s vision of powering a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.

British Airways says the new investment will support its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of short, medium and long-term initiatives. In addition to exploring and investing in the growth of these new longer-term technologies, the airline is also investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), flying more fuel-efficient aircraft and exploring the use of carbon capture technology.

Last year, ZeroAvia achieved what was reported to be the
world's first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. Furthermore, the company has just completed a ground simulation of the complete power profile for its upcoming first cross-country flight. The ground test demonstrated a full battery shutdown in-flight using the company's fuel cell powertrain configuration, allowing for complete removal of the battery system in the next configuration of the powertrain.

British Airways’ investment in ZeroAvia follows a recent partnership between the two companies announced at the end of last year. The airline teamed up with ZeroAvia through its parent company International Airlines Group’s (IAG) Hangar 51 accelerator programme in a project to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying. The project identified economic, network and consumer appeal advantages as well as clear environmental benefits.

Photo: ZeroAvia

News Item details

Journal title: Petroleum Review

Countries: UK -

Organisation: British Airways|ZeroAvia

Subjects: Hydrogen powered aircraft -

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