California is known for supporting clean energy projects and EVs, so it’s not surprising that it would be open to hydrogen-electric air vehicles as well. In only a few months, the British clean aviation company ZeroAvia will kick off tests for a 19-seater powered by its ZA600 powertrain at the Hollister Municipal Airport.
Last year, ZeroAvia shared a video of a heavy-duty truck inspired by military models getting pulled by a 600 kW powertrain. It was a successful ground test of the company’s hydrogen-electric powertrain, meant for a 19-seat Dornier 228. This is meant to become a clean alternative for regional flights both in the UK and in the U.S. But the ultimate goal is even more ambitious. The 15-ton HyperTruck will also be used for testing the ZA2000, a 1.8 MW system for aircraft with 40 to 80 seats.
Until then, ZeroAvia is aiming for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) of the ZA600 by 2024. To get there, it will convert a twin-engine Dornier 228 at its facility near the Hollister Airport in California. The future testbed will sport a hybrid configuration with both a conventional engine and a hydrogen-electric powertrain. Then, it will be tested for passenger, cargo, and industrial applications over the next months.
To support these tests, the Hollister facility was expanded, including a large hangar for both the aircraft and the HyperTruck test platform. On the path to certification, the company is also working on a future hydrogen refueling network at airports in California, together with ZEV Station. Plus, United Airlines and Alaska Air Group are backing its ZA2000 project.
The first Dornier 228 powered by the ZA600 will be tested in the UK, as part of the government co-founded HyFlyer II Project. “This year, we will have two demonstration aircraft flying on two continents powered by our hydrogen-electric powertrains,” said Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia’s founder and CEO.