Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia developing world’s largest zero-emission aircraft

Alaska Airlines has presented a Bombardier Q400 regional turboprop to ZeroAvia that will be retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system in an effort to expand the reach and applicability of…


Alaska Airlines has presented a Bombardier Q400 regional turboprop to ZeroAvia that will be retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system in an effort to expand the reach and applicability of zero emissions flight technology.

At an event, held at ZeroAvia’s Paine Field research and development site, the companies were joined by high school students from Raisbeck Aviation High School, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers to participate in the formal handover of the 76-seat Q400 aircraft that will be developed by ZeroAvia, the U.S.-headquartered leader in designing and building zero-emission, hydrogen-electric aircraft propulsion systems for aircraft.

When Alaska Airlines’ regional carrier Horizon Air retired its Q400 fleet, it reserved one of the aircraft for research and development purposes to further advance zero emissions technology for the aviation industry. The aircraft was repainted with a special livery to highlight the innovative mission of this partnership.

ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia also debuted its breakthrough multi-megawatt modular electric motor system in a 1.8MW prototype configuration at the event – demonstrated with a propeller spin aboard the ZeroAvia’s 15-ton HyperTruck ground-test rig. Combined with higher temperature PEM fuel cells and advanced power electronics – both technologies that ZeroAvia is developing in-house – the leading-edge electric motor technology is one of three key building blocks for enabling commercially-relevant hydrogen fuel cell engines for larger aircraft.

“This is a great step forward in aviation innovation, to help create a new future of flight – right here at home,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. “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.”

Dash 8-400

Aligning ZeroAvia’s powertrain with the Dash 8-400 airframe will represent a commercially viable zero-emission aircraft with fuel cell engine technology around five times more powerful than what has been demonstrated anywhere to date.

“Demonstrating this size of aircraft in flight, powered entirely by novel propulsion, would have been unthinkable a few years ago,” said Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia. “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.”
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