ZeroAvia has made a big leap forward in plans to deliver hydrogen-electric engines for regional jets, thanks to an expanded agreement with MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ). As part of the collaboration, MHIRJ will provide engineering services, aircraft integration, and its industry renowned OEM experience to support the certification of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain for retrofit onto airframes in the regional jet markets.
ZeroAvia is already well advanced in plans to certify its ZA600, 600kW powertrain for smaller, 10-20 seat aircraft, with entry into service planned for 2024. Concurrently, the company is working on ZA2000, a 2-5MW modular powertrain which targets support for 40-80 seat turboprops by 2026. The ZA2000RJ powertrain will expand this technology to enable passengers to fly in zero-emission regional jets as early as the late 2020s.
This agreement places the CRJ Series aircraft as a frontrunner for the earliest operations using true zero-emission engines. Over 2,000 CRJ Series aircraft have been built since the launch of the program, effectively establishing itself as the backbone of regional aviation in the United States.
This expanded agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties at the end of last year.
Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos where he has been discussing the pathway to sustainable aviation, Val Miftakhov, CEO and Founder of ZeroAvia, said: “There are hundreds of CRJ Series aircraft in daily operation across North America, transporting millions of passengers. All these flights can and should be zero-emission well before the end of this decade. This agreement is a giant step forward in delivering hydrogen-electric engines to the regional jet segment.”
The agreement is the first for MHIRJ’s Aerospace Engineering Centre (AEC) in the hydrogen propulsion field. MHIRJ’s Aerospace Engineering Centre aims to provide engineering, design and certification services to third parties using the wide expertise and experience of its engineering team.
Hiro Yamamoto, President and CEO of MHIRJ, said: “We are very excited about this agreement with ZeroAvia as it furthers two important goals for MHIRJ. The first is to continue to grow our AEC business through working with other companies and using our vast engineering expertise to advance this state-of-the art project. The second benefit is that we are part of the value chain in bringing innovative sustainable technology into the regional space.”
In the last quarter of 2021, ZeroAvia secured partnerships and funding with major airlines Alaska Air Group and United Airlines to accelerate the development of its ZA2000 engine, the largest of ZeroAvia’s current powertrain platforms. This announcement with MHIRJ closely follows ZeroAvia’s expansion of its Hollister location in California and a deal with Shell for hydrogen supply, as well as the opening of a new facility at Paine Field in Washington State in January.