Their headline is a bit misleading. These tests will have jet engines on one side and H2 power cells running the other side. If all goes well, then they move into 100% H2 powered planes.
Canary Media headline: ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-powered test plane is nearly ready for takeoff
Subheadline: The California startup will fly its 19-seat prototype in the U.K. and U.S. this summer as the aviation industry searches for zero-emissions fuels.
22 June 2022
Airports worldwide are swarming with travelers paying sky-high fares for jampacked flights this summer. Far away from those chaotic hubs, however, is a small airfield in the English village of Kemble. At a single working runway surrounded by farms and grazing sheep, aviation experts are preparing to launch a different kind of trip, one that’s powered partly by hydrogen.
The startup ZeroAvia is planning to flight-test a 19-seat aircraft equipped with hydrogen fuel cells in mid-July at the Cotswold Airport in Kemble, the company says. A second test-bed plane will take flight in the coming months near ZeroAvia’s headquarters in Hollister, California. The two dual-engine aircraft will use fuel cells — which convert hydrogen into electricity to drive propellers — and batteries on one side, while the other side will use a conventional jet engine.
If all goes smoothly, the demonstrations could play a key early role in advancing hydrogen as an alternative to highly polluting, oil-based jet fuel. So far, hydrogen has only been tested a handful of times in tiny, single-digit-passenger prototype models. Yet major aviation companies are increasingly considering the carbonless fuel as a long-term solution for cleaning up the notoriously hard-to-decarbonize industry.