ZeroAvia, Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Rotterdam the Hague Innovation Airport are to develop a concept of operations for hydrogen in airports.

Following up on the cooperation commitment announced last year to launch the first hydrogen-electric commercial flight, this collaboration will focus on serving the first hydrogen flight from Rotterdam, including operation at the airport, developing on-the-ground infrastructure and operations, including pilot distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation, leading towards decarbonising the whole airport ecosystem, the partners said.

Ultimately, the project targets supporting aircraft operations using gaseous hydrogen to fuel ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines. For these specific demonstration flights, the partners aim to establish routes to airports in Europe within 250 nautical mile radius of Rotterdam. Last month, ZeroAvia demonstrated a first flight of a 19-seat aircraft powered by its prototype ZA600 engine.

This project will also target the development of aviation specific standards and protocols around safety, refuelling and hydrogen management. The partners will work with potential airline operators for the initial demonstration and subsequent commercial flights.

Wilma Van Dijk, CEO, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, said: “ Hydrogen is key to decarbonising aviation. This collaboration helps us demonstrate and validate new airport infrastructure requirements as well as concepts of operation. And hence accelerate and stimulate airport transformation towards zero-emission status.”

ZeroAvia’s testing of the ZA600 powertrain in flight is part of HyFlyer II, an R&D project supported in part by the UK Government’s ATI programme. The project has also seen the further development of ZeroAvia’s Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) demonstrator alongside project partner EMEC, and separately ZeroAvia has developed a hydrogen refuelling pipeline at the UK’s Cotswold Airport.  

Image: ZeroAvia