The hydrogen-powered aircraft, with no emissions, are expected to commence flying to European locations from airports near Rotterdam and The Hague as early as 2024. The flights will be operated in collaboration with aircraft maker ZeroAvia, Shell, and the airports of Rotterdam The Hague and Rotterdam The Hague Innovation. According to The Engineer, the involved parties have begun developing plans for hydrogen operations and anticipate conducting demonstration flights by the close of 2024.
If successful, it could lead to zero-emission flights from several cities in Europe being able to reach Rotterdam and The Hague. The inaugural paying passengers may embark on their journey in 2025.
The team has begun developing the necessary infrastructure for the initial hydrogen-powered flight to Rotterdam, as the storage, distribution, and dispensing of hydrogen as a fuel source necessitates innovative solutions.
This consortium, which includes Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport and Shell, is kicking the ball well and truly forward towards the commercial finish line,” said Arnab Chatterjee, ZeroAvia’s Vice President for Infrastructure, illustrating the significance of the agreement with a football example. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but once clear milestones and targets are set, the hard work really begins: building the infrastructure and exploring the protocols and standards required.”
The project, based in Rotterdam, is focused on servicing and supporting hydrogen-electric planes like the ZeroAvia ZA600, which operates on hydrogen gas. It is also a crucial objective to establish the proper standards and safety protocols to guarantee that the hydrogen management and refueling process is carried out seamlessly and with the longest possible range.
Utilizing current technology, all international airports in Europe within a 250 nautical mile radius of Rotterdam will be reachable, leading to a significant decrease in the carbon footprint of short-haul flights and commuting.
“This project and collaboration is a major milestone, as it will enable the rapid decarbonisation of a hard-to-electrify sector such as aviation,” said Oliver Bishop, CEO of Shell Hydrogen. “We have the opportunity to support one of the first international zero-emission flights and road-test multi-fuel and multi-modal fuel operations in a live, airport environment. This is a huge step forward in hydrogen flight.”
In addition to launching commercial flights in the Netherlands, aircraft equipped with ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric propulsion system are also expected to take flight in the UK, as reported by NEW technology. The portal states that flights from Aberdeen to Glasgow in Scotland may be approved to start carrying passengers by 2025.
The 600 kW ZA600 aircraft are projected to have the capacity to transport between 9 and 19 passengers at a time and have a range of up to 560 kilometers.