Press release: HyFlyer project achieves world-first hydrogen-electric flight
The HyFlyer project has passed a significant milestone after the successful completion of a hydrogen-electric test flight; the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight involving a commercial-sized aircraft.
The flight took place yesterday [Thursday 24 September] at ZeroAvia’s R&D facility in Cranfield with the six-seater Piper M-class plane completing taxi, take-off, a full pattern circuit, and landing.
The hydrogen-electric flight was conducted by HyFlyer lead partner ZeroAvia, developers of hydrogen fuel cell powertrain solutions, who integrated the fuel cell technology on board the aircraft following the UK’s first ever commercial-scale battery-electric flight, conducted by the same aircraft in June of this year.
The successful flight represents a significant milestone on the road to zero-emission commercial flights.
Funded through the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, HyFlyer will now enter its final stage of technology integration and testing which will culminate in a 250-Nautical Mile zero-emission hydrogen powered flight out of an airfield in Orkney before the end of the year.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) are supplying the hydrogen required for flight tests and, in collaboration with Fuel Cell Systems Ltd., have developed a mobile hydrogen refuelling solution which is compatible with the plane. Project partners Intelligent Energy will optimise its high power fuel cell technology for application in aviation.
Val Miftakhov, CEO of ZeroAvia, said:
“It’s hard to put into words what this means to our team, but also for everybody interested in zero-emission flight. While some experimental aircraft have flown using hydrogen fuel cells as a power source, the size of this commercially available aircraft shows that paying passengers could be boarding a truly zero-emission flight very soon. All of the team at ZeroAvia and at our partner companies can be proud of their work getting us to this point, and I want to also thank our investors and the UK Government for their support.”
Robert Courts, Aviation Minister, said:
“Aviation is a hotbed of innovation and ZeroAvia’s fantastic technology takes us all one step closer to a sustainable future for air travel. Through our ground-breaking Jet Zero partnership we’re working hard with industry to drive innovation in zero carbon flight, and we look forward to seeing the sector go from strength to strength.”
Nadhim Zahawi, Business and Industry Minister, said:
“Developing aircraft that create less pollution will help the UK make significant headway in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Backed by Government funding, this flight is another exciting milestone in ZeroAvia’s project. It shows that technologies to clean up air travel are now at our fingertips – with enormous potential to build back better and drive clean economic growth in the UK.”
Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:
“This is an important milestone for HyFlyer and UK aerospace, and we send our congratulations to the team. It is through supporting projects such as HyFlyer, and new and innovative companies such as ZeroAvia, that the ATI aims to deliver our vision for future sustainable aviation and secure a lead for UK aerospace in the highly-competitive global market.”
The HyFlyer project is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme, delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges.