American Airlines invests in ZeroAvia and signs MoU for 100 engines

By Featured, Sustainability

American Airlines has announced its investment in ZeroAvia, with an MoU to order up to 100 engines from its hydrogen-electric powertrain development programme. The engines are intended to power regional jet aircraft with zero emissions.

Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “Our investment in ZeroAvia’s emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation. We are excited to contribute to this industry development and look forward to exploring how these engines can support the future of our airline as we build American Airlines to thrive forever.”

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia, Founder & CEO, added: “Having support from the world’s largest airline is a strong indication of the progress we’re making on the development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission flight. We are focused on delivering sustainable travel, and are delighted that American, a visionary leader in the industry, sees ZeroAvia as a part of the future of aviation.”

The commercial and investment deal with American continues the strong commercial momentum for ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain technologies and Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE), coming on the heels of the agreements with Ravn Alaska, MONTE, MHIRJ, Otto Aviation, Shell, Edmonton International Airport and PowerCell.

Avfuel and Neste Supply SAF to Viva Aerobus

By Sustainability

Viva Aerobus – Mexico’s low-fare airline – took its first flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel from Los Angeles to Guadalajara on June 15. The uplift was made possible by the partnership between Avfuel and Neste.

The fueling milestone positions Viva Aerobus as a Mexican leader in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint. With a delivery of 7,500 gallons of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation FuelTM, Viva Aerobus was able to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by 21 metric tons, the equivalent of the amount of CO2 sequestered by 24.9 acres of U.S. forests per year.

“We are excited to take this big step in Mexico’s aviation history aimed at reducing GHG emissions. We keep strengthening as the greenest Mexican airline, having the lowest number of CO2 emissions per passenger in the country,” said Juan Carlos Zuazua, CEO of Viva Aerobus.

Viva has set an ambitious goal to purchase 1 million liters (or nearly 265,000 gallons) of SAF. To reach this goal, Avfuel and Neste are collaborating with Viva on a potential long-term SAF supply agreement. Neste, with its global, fast-growing SAF production, and Avfuel, with its global distribution logistics expertise, are uniquely positioned to help Viva achieve its SAF commitment.

FIA2022: ZeroAvia secures $30million in funding from big-name investors

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

ZeroAvia has announced that it has USD$30 million in funding from new investors: Barclays, NEOM, and AENU, with International Airlines Group adding to prior investment from the Group, bringing the Series B round to $68million.

With major airlines – United Airlines and Alaska Airlines – already counted as strategic investors, this new batch of investment will further advance ZeroAvia’s 2-5MW hydrogen-electric powertrain development programme. Aiming to power 40-80 seat aircraft with zero-emission engines by 2026.

Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO, ZeroAvia said: “Each of these star investors brings a unique perspective and strength to ZeroAvia’s wider team – from one of the world’s biggest airline groups, one of the largest and most historic banks, to the ambitious project to build the world’s first zero-carbon metropolis, as well as a pure-play impact investor. Our new investors are each looking at our journey through a different lens, but all energized by our mission to enable zero-emission flight using hydrogen-electric engines. This is a great recognition of ZeroAvia’s leadership in the space, fueled by real, tangible achievements.”

Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments at Barclays said: “The aviation industry will require significant and recurring investment in the years ahead to ensure its technological evolution can keep pace with global decarbonisation targets. ZeroAvia is an innovative, industry-leading aviation business – we are delighted to support its ambition towards zero-emission flight, and look forward to seeing them accelerate change in the sector.”

FIA2022: Airbus to study hydrogen contrail characterisation

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

Airbus’ subsidiary Airbus UpNext has unveiled a flight test programme to study the contrails produced by a hydrogen combustion engine as part the Company’s ZEROe roadmap.

The “Blue Condor” project will see the launch of two modified Arcus gliders, one equipped with a hydrogen combustion engine and one equipped with a conventional kerosene-powered combustion engine. This is done to compare contrails emitted at high altitudes.

Sandra Bour Schaeffer, CEO of Airbus UpNext commented: “Contrail characterisation is of significant interest to Airbus. We know that hydrogen emits no carbon dioxide when burned, but we also know that with water vapour and heat being the most significant by-products, hydrogen combustion does produce contrails. Although these contrails differ significantly to those produced by conventional JetA/A1 combustion engines, understanding their composition will be key to support our decarbonisation journey.

“In taking up this challenge we are making significant headway in our decarbonisation strategy and our ambition to bring the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft into service by 2035.”

A German Research Centre, DLR, will be tasked to collect and analyse data captured using their measurement instrumentation sensors on a chase aircraft, while Airbus says it will ensure the provision of the hydrogen system and equipment, including the combustion engine as well as the details of the flight test mission.

The test flights will be carried out back-to-back under the same meteorological conditions to ensure 100% comparable data between the hydrogen and conventional engine. Test flights are scheduled for late 2022 in North Dakota, US.

The Blue Condor demonstrator will be supported by the Perlan Project team, which will be responsible for the modification of the Arcus gliders. The team will also provide high-altitude glider pilots for the project. They are the same pilots who in 2018 set the world subsonic altitude record – 76,124 feet – in a pressurised glider for Airbus Perlan Mission II.

FIA2022: Collins Aerospace completes 1MW electric motor design for Pratt & Whitney’s hybrid-electric flight demonstrator

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

Collins Aerospace announced it has completed the preliminary design review of the 1 megawatt electric motor and motor controlled it is developing for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s regional hybrid-electric technology demonstrator programme. Prototypes of this demonstrator will be sent for ground testing in late 2022, with flight testing planned to take place in 2024.

Hybrid-electric propulsion technology is a core element of Collins’ and Pratt & Whitney’s strategies for enabling sustainable aviation. Both companies are also working on hybrid-electric propulsion solutions for advanced air mobility vehicles and single aisle aircraft.

Speaking on the sustainability panel at Farnborough Airshow, Collins Aerospace’s Chief Sustainability Officer LeAnne Ridgeway commented: “We’ve got the current and the voltage and the speed totally proven out [for the 1 megawatt electric motor] (…) what I love about this 1MW motor, it’s best in class today. We’re building off our legacy and technology that we built on the 787 and the F35.”

She also noted the exciting potential for this 1MW motor to scale across multiple markets, from the regional turboprop, to the unmanned market, all the way up to the single aisle market in the not too distant future.

Adding to this, Chief Sustainability Officer for Pratt & Whitney, Graham Webb, said: “It’s a very exciting time for us in terms of collaboration with Collins. Sustainability starts with our gear. We’re actually taking that one megawatt motor and looking on how to integrate that into an advanced future geared turbofan engine.”

The programme is targeting a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency and reduction in Co2 emissions, compared to today’s more advanced turboprop for regional aircraft. The electric motor witll provide extra power during take-off and climb, and will also be designed to run on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

 

 

FIA2022: Embraer captures over 250 LOI’s for its new regional turboprop

By Featured, FIA2022, Regional Turboprops, Sustainability

In a recent announcement that saw Embraer, the Brazilian manufacturer, discuss its market outlook, the company also disclosed a massive success with its new – yet to launch – next-generation regional turboprop with ‘well over’ 250+ LoI being announced from airlines.

Whilst being LOIs means it will still take time for any firm commitments to materialise, Embraer are hopeful that some of these customers will move forward with their decisions in the next 9 to twelve months, and that the company will be ready to announce even more firm PAs next year.

“We will have to finalise the engine selection (…) but this is a signal that we’re moving in the right direction. There is a lot of interest in this aircraft and a good sign of what’s happening in the market,” said Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer.

The first model of the turboprop aircraft next-generation is expected to be available in 2028, whilst the second model will be in 2029.

FIA2022: GE achieves a world first, testing hybrid electric components in altitude conditions

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

GE has achieved a world-first, as it announced its success with the test of a megawatt and multi kilovolt hybrid electric propulsion system in altitude conditions – 45,000ft – that simulate single-aisle aircraft. This means that the programme can move on to flight testing in the next few years.

Speaking at the Farnborough Airshow press briefing, Steve McCarthy, Director of aeronautics at NASA’s Glenn Research Centre in Ohio said, “The NASA and GE partnership is really paving the way for the leadership of electrification megawatt class commercial transport, the single aisle aircraft, really the biggest contributor to aviation nations. That’s why NASA Aeronautics is partnering with GE to enable that next generation of single aisle aircraft.”

The altitude integration test began back in June 2021, and was completed in NASA’s Electric Aircraft Testbed facility in Ohio. The components were tested independently and as an integrated system. Multiple operational modes were also evaluated, as well as power transfer from side to side, power assist to a simulated engine, and aircraft power generation. The implementation of energy storage was also simulated.

“We’re making aviation history by developing the technology to help make hybrid electric flight possible for everyday commercial air travel,” commented Mohamed Ali, vice president and general manager of engineering for GE Aerospace.

 

FIA2022: Wideroe becomes first airline to join Embraer’s Energia Advisory Group

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

Widerøe, committed to be one of the first airlines in the world to be emission free, has signed an MoU with Embraer that will see the companies working together to define and establish the real-world requirements for sustainable, emission free, and commercially viable, aviation.

The companies will collaborate to define requirements such as infrastructure, ground handling, aircraft performance (range, speed, etc.), and cargo space etc. The Energia Advisory Group will help accelerate time to market and ultimately inform the choice of which Energia concept will come to market first.

This agreement builds on existing Embraer projects with Widerøe such as ‘Project Zero’ – a collaboration with Rolls-Royce to study a truly zero emission aircraft (zero NOx and other greenhouse gases) of around 50 seats. This complementary work looks at all aspects of developing and operating the 19-50 seat Energia concepts.

“At Widerøe, we established Widerøe Zero because we need the freedom to think afresh. There are entrenched ways of doing things in our industry, but running a zero-emissions fleet is going to be completely different,” says Andreas Kollbye Aks, former Director of Strategy at Widerøe, and CEO of Widerøe Zero. “Embraer’s approach to sustainable aviation most closely aligns with our own, and this collaboration will get into the real-world detail, to shape the technology that will make Zero missions flight a reality.”

Arjan Meijer, President and CEO Embraer Commercial Aviation, said, “We’re proud of our association with Widerøe, who have become a powerful voice globally in the drive for sustainable aviation, and were recently named ‘Eco-Airline of The Year’ by Air Transport World. Widerøe’s expertise in, and commitment to, sustainable aviation is unrivalled. The experience they and subsequent group members bring to the program will be a key foundation of Energia’s successful development.”

FIA2022: Alaskan regional airline orders 30 hydrogen-electric engines from ZeroAvia

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

ZeroAvia announced it has signed an MoU with Ravn Alaska to deliver hydrogen-electric propulsion for the operator’s passenger aircraft. Ravn has placed an order for 30 of ZeroAvia’s ZA2000 powertrains with the intention of retrofitting its De Havilland Dash-8 fleet to enable zero-emission flights.

Ravn currently operates a number of Q100 and Q300 aircraft on routes serving rural communities in Alaska. The state is an important strategic target for early adoption of hydrogen-electric flight routes, given the dependence on aviation for interstate travel and the strong potential of Alaska’s renewable energy resources—particularly hydroelectric—to generate green hydrogen.

ZeroAvia’s ZA2000 is a 2–5 megawatt (3,000–7,000 shaft horsepower) modular powertrain designed for 40–90 seat turboprop planes, targeting 500 nautical mile plus journeys from 2026 onwards—enabling flights like Anchorage to St Mary’s with zero-emissions. The company is also working to certify a 600kW powertrain for 9–19 seat aircraft for entry into service in 2024.

Rob McKinney, CEO, Ravn Alaska, said:

“We want to be at the forefront of adopting zero-emission aviation once FAA-certified technologies come to market. ZeroAvia is making great strides to bringing hydrogen-electric propulsion to Alaskan skies, and we’re looking forward to working together to realize green flight.”

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia, Founder & CEO, said:

“Alaska represents the challenge facing the aviation industry writ large— air travel provides the vital connectivity that Alaskans so desperately need, but at the same time, the impacts of climate change on the breathtaking landscape are starkly visible. With its ample renewable energy supply and network of airfields, the state is the perfect place for some of the world’s earliest hydrogen-electric, zero-emission routes.”

FIA2022: Rolls-Royce and easyJet announce H2ZERO partnership to test hydrogen combustion engines

By Featured, FIA2022, Sustainability

Low-fare airline easyJet and aerospace manufacturer Rolls-Royce announced a new partnership that will pioneer the development of hydrogen combustion engine technology. This technology will seek to power a range of aircraft, crucially including those in the narrow-body market segments. Both easyJet and Rolls-Royce have committed to working together on ground-based engine tests which will start in later 2022, with a view and ambition to take this technology to the air.

The partnership’s objective is to show that hydrogen has the potential to power narrow-body aircraft from mid-2030 onwards. The current timeline predicted will start with an early concept ground test of the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine in the UK in late 2022, followed by a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

The H2ZERO partnership is inspired the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign – one that has been signed up to by both companies. The agreement announced at Farnborough further emphasises this commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and aligns closely with a research project that both companies began in 2021 looking at the infrastructure, regulatory requirements and market analysis that would support the use of hydrogen in aviation.

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “In order to achieve net zero by 2050, we have always said that radical action is needed to address aviation’s climate impact. That’s why today, we are so pleased to announce this partnership with Rolls-Royce. The technology that emerges from this programme has the potential to power easyJet-size aircraft, which is why we will also be making a multi-million pound investment into this programme. In order to achieve decarbonisation at scale, progress on the development of zero emission technology for narrowbody aircraft is crucial. Together with RollsRoyce we look forward to leading the industry to tackle this challenge head-on.”

Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Rolls-Royce, said: “H2ZERO is a big step forward for Rolls-Royce and we are excited to be working with a partner that shares a desire to innovate and find new answers to aviation’s biggest challenges. We at Rolls-Royce want to be ready to pioneer sustainability with whatever the future requires, be it hydrogen, electric power, sustainable aviation fuel, or gas turbine efficiency. This agreement further inspires us to move forward.”

The H2ZERO partnership has also been created in response to detailed studies and market research – including the UK Aerospace Technology Institute’s Fly Zero team and Project NAPKIN (New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network) – which both concluded there is market potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft.