Alaska Airlines has forged a groundbreaking partnership with ZeroAvia, a prominent U.S.-based company specializing in the design and construction of hydrogen-electric aircraft propulsion systems.
This collaboration aims to retrofit a Bombardier Q400 regional turboprop with a state-of-the-art hydrogen-electric propulsion system, making it the world’s largest hydrogen-electric, propulsion-powered zero-emission aircraft.
By leveraging this cutting-edge technology, the aviation industry takes another significant step toward achieving its ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions.
Alaska Airlines Retrofitted Q400 Aircraft Handed Over for Research and Development
During a recent event held at ZeroAvia’s renowned Paine Field research and development site, Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines’ regional carrier, formally handed over a 76-seat Q400 aircraft to ZeroAvia.
The purpose of this handover is to facilitate extensive research and development activities.
In honor of this innovative partnership, the aircraft received a special livery, serving as a symbol of their shared mission to revolutionize aviation.
ZeroAvia’s Multi-Megawatt Modular Electric Motor System
At the aforementioned event, ZeroAvia proudly introduced its groundbreaking multi-megawatt modular electric motor system.
This remarkable technology was demonstrated through a propeller spin aboard ZeroAvia’s 15-ton HyperTruck ground test rig.
Complemented by higher-temperature PEM fuel cells and advanced power electronics, this electric motor system represents one of the three fundamental building blocks required to enable commercially-relevant hydrogen fuel cell engines for larger aircraft.
The Key Building Blocks for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines
ZeroAvia’s revolutionary hydrogen-electric engine operates by utilizing fuel cells to generate electricity from hydrogen fuel.
This electricity then powers the electric motors, which, in turn, drive the aircraft propellers. The certifiable ZA2000 system, which incorporates ZeroAvia’s High-Temperature PEM fuel cells and liquid hydrogen fuel storage, provides the essential energy density necessary for large regional turboprops to operate commercially.
To enhance their expertise, ZeroAvia has established an engineering partnership with De Havilland of Canada, the original manufacturer of the Dash 8 family of aircraft, facilitating the exchange of data and knowledge in the airframe domain.
ZeroAvia’s Hydrogen-Electric Engine: A Sustainable Solution
Val Miftakhov, the founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, expressed his excitement, stating, “Demonstrating this size of aircraft in flight, powered entirely by novel propulsion, would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Launching this program puts us on track for a test flight next year and accelerates our progress toward the future of zero-emission flight for Alaska Airlines and for the world at large.”
By aligning ZeroAvia’s advanced powertrain with the Dash 8-400 airframe, the project aims to deliver a commercially viable zero-emission aircraft equipped with fuel cell engine technology that is approximately five times more powerful than previously demonstrated.
This groundbreaking endeavor exemplifies the necessity for new technologies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in aviation and emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships within the industry.
Alaska Airlines Collaboration for Net-Zero Carbon Emissions
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci acknowledges the significance of this partnership in advancing aviation innovation.
He affirms, “This is a great step forward in aviation innovation, to help create a new future of flight – right here at home. Alaska Airlines has defined a five-part journey to achieve net-zero carbon emissions long-term, but we can’t get there alone. New technologies are required to make that future possible, and we’re thrilled to partner with industry leader ZeroAvia to make new zero-emissions options a reality.”
This collaboration between Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia represents a paradigm shift in sustainable aviation and reinforces the notion that achieving net-zero carbon emissions necessitates the collective efforts of industry leaders.
Alaska Airlines Commitment to a Sustainable Future
Alaska Airlines, a trailblazer in the aviation industry, remains steadfast in its commitment to a sustainable future.
With a five-part journey aimed at achieving net-zero carbon emissions, Alaska Airlines recognizes that partnerships with innovators like ZeroAvia are essential to realizing this ambitious vision.
By pushing the boundaries of technology and embracing sustainable solutions, Alaska Airlines sets a precedent for the entire industry, emphasizing the urgent need to reduce carbon footprints and shape a more environmentally friendly aviation sector.