The ZeroAvia Dornier 228, a partially converted hydrogen-electric powered aircraft, has successfully completed its first flight from Cotswold Airport in the UK. This aircraft, which can hold 19 passengers, is the largest test aircraft to ever use a zero-emission power source.
The flight lasted around 10 minutes, during which the aircraft taxied, took off and landed, and all systems were reported to have worked as expected. The company aims to gain regulatory approval to use this technology on commercial flights by 2025.
Currently, the Dornier 228 aircraft has a conventional engine on its right wing, while the left wing is powered by a hydrogen-electric drive train which includes two fuel cells. During takeoff, the aircraft uses lithium-ion batteries to provide additional power and backup.
On the test aircraft, the hydrogen tanks and fuel cell power generation systems are located in the cabin, but an external storage tank would be used for this in future commercial operations.
ZeroAvia is developing a 600kW powertrain for 9-19 seat zero-emission aircraft as part of the UK government-backed HyFlyer II project, but is also developing a 2-5MW powertrain programme that will make the technology available for aircraft with up to 90 seats.