Aircraft innovator ZeroAvia is making strides with its zero-emission aircraft technology.
The four-year-old startup is already creating short-haul hydrogen-electric flights that can seat up to 20 people with a goal to complete 300- to 500-mile zero-emission flights by 2024. Then, it plans to scale up the aircraft to seat 100 people. ZeroAvia’s innovations could help the industry significantly reduce its harmful emissions by targeting short-haul flights, which some experts estimate account for 17% of total airline emissions.
It’s ZeroAvia’s solution to mass transit’s dependency on fossil fuels and the resulting global warming crisis—by harnessing hydrogen-electric technology in hopes of one day decarbonizing the airline industry as we know it. The company has been researching and developing hydrogen-electric components for years, and it has since created the first hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of zero-emission flight.
Blue Skies, Green Planes, ZeroAvia
When aircraft burn jet fuel, they produce carbon dioxide emissions.
When ZeroAvia’s planes take flight, they release water vapor. That’s because the startup uses machines called electrolyzers, which get power from renewable sources such as solar panels and wind farms, to create green hydrogen. They do this by sending electric currents through the water to split hydrogen atoms from oxygen, which results in water vapor output. This is a significant step forward since popular sources of sustainable energy such as solar and wind simply cannot produce enough energy to power commercial aircraft. Green hydrogen, however, can. What’s good for the environment will also be good for consumers’ pockets: a transition to hydrogen-electric flight would also result in more affordable airfares.
Allies in the Air
Eco-conscious groups echo the company’s noble cause. The World Economic Forum recently announced the Target True Zero initiative, which leverages partnerships with leaders in the green aviation space, such as Airbus, Boeing, and ZeroAvia. The initiative plans to accelerate the implementation and scaling of zero-emission aviation — primarily via electric and hydrogen flight technology.
This effort will involve global cooperation in the public, private, and civil society sectors and continued innovation in several spaces like technology, supply chain, industry dynamics, and regulation. While there’s still a long road ahead before the industry sees complete decarbonization of aviation, ZeroAvia has emerged as a leader at the cutting edge of green technology.