Shell to Build Mobile Refueling Units for a Future Hydrogen Aircraft in California

While other names in the industry are focusing on designing and developing hydrogen-fueled aircraft from scratch, ZeroAvia has already inaugurated a pioneering hydrogen airport pipeline in the UK, and is gearing up for testing its retrofitted Dornier-228 this summer, both in the United Kingdom and the U.S., and Shell is also helping this bold project.
Shell will support ZeroAvia's flight tests with mobile hydrogen refueling units 7 photos
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Hydrogen-powered aviation still seems like a distant dream, considering the regulations and protocols that need to be established, not to mention hydrogen’s price and availability, which are still an issue. But Shell is one of this solution’s supporters and has agreed to design and build two commercial-scale mobile refueling units for ZeroAvia.

The aviation company will use them at its facility in Hollister, California, where it’s gearing up for the first flight tests of an aircraft that was retrofitted with its hydrogen-electric powertrain, the ZA600.

ZeroAvia developed this 600 kW powertrain as part of the HyFlyer II project, supported by the British government, and intends to have a 500-mile-range (804 km) passenger aircraft begin operations by 2024.

Two retrofitted Dornier 228 airplanes will be used as testbeds, one in the UK and one in California, where it’s currently being fitted with the company’s hydrogen-electric powertrain. The future mobile refueling units will support these upcoming tests.

In addition to that, ZeroAvia has presented a 100-meter-long (328 feet) hydrogen pipeline at Cotswold Airport in the UK, which claims to be the first of its kind in Europe. Together with an electrolyzer and a mobile refueler, it will be used for the upcoming flight tests.

And this is just the beginning. The ambitious startup is not only developing more powerful versions of its powertrain but is also looking to transition from gaseous to liquid hydrogen in the future. This will allow the implementation of the fuel cell technology on larger aircraft. As part of that strategy, ZeroAvia intends to develop a large-scale liquid hydrogen refueling truck.

United Airlines and Alaska Air Group are also backing ZeroAvia’s project in the U.S.

press release

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