MIAMI – ZeroAvia has announced a partnership with Alaska Air Group (AS) to create a zero-emissions hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft across 500 nautical miles.

Along with a fellow Seattle-based Amazon Climate Pledge Fund and Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, AS has joined ZeroAvia’s roster of top investors for its vision of renewable hydrogen aviation.

Image: ZeroAvia

ZA2000 Engine

Engineers from AS and ZeroAvia will collaborate to scale the company’s existing powertrain technology to build the ZA2000, a 500-mile range engine family capable of providing between 2,000 and 5,000 kilowatts of power.

The alliance will first put ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric propulsion technology into a full-size De Havilland Q400 aircraft donated by AS, reg N423QX, capable of transporting 76 passengers. The type was previously operated by Alaska Air Group subsidiary Horizon Air Industries, Inc.

According to the AS press release, during this project, ZeroAvia will work closely with aircraft regulators to verify that the aircraft meets both safety and operational criteria. ZeroAvia will set up a location in the Seattle area to support this initiative.

Alaska has also obtained options for up to 50 kits to begin converting its regional aircraft to hydrogen-electric propulsion, beginning with the Q400 aircraft, using ZeroAvia’s zero-emission powertrain.

Ground fuel production and distribution infrastructure from ZeroAvia and its infrastructure partners, including Shell, will support this zero-emission aviation expansion. Working to improve innovative propulsion is one of Alaska’s five parts of its net-zero approach.

Recently, ZeroAvia successfully ground-tested its 600kW powertrain capable of flying airframes 10-20 seats over 500 miles. The company is well on its way to preparing a 19-seat aircraft for flight testing at Cotswold Airport (GBA) in the UK, moving to full-scale prototype manufacturing of its 2,000 kW engine for demonstrations in 2022.

Comments from Alaska Air Group, ZerAvia Officials

“Alaska is committed to creating a sustainable future for aviation, working on all aspects of a five-part path toward our goal of net zero by 2040,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, vice president of public affairs and sustainability for Alaska Airlines. “We are honored to partner with ZeroAvia’s innovative and forward-thinking team, to support their progress developing zero-emissions aviation, and to collaborate for real-world hydrogen aviation success.”

“The aviation industry is one of the hardest industries to decarbonize; however, with this collaboration, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of making our skies emission-free,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia. “We are thrilled to see Alaska taking the lead to implement clean technologies into their operations and look forward to putting boots on the ground with Alaska’s team..”

Featured image: ZeroAvia will incorporate a 3MW+ hydrogen-electric powertrain system into a De Havilland DHC-8-400 (Q400) aircraft. Photo: Alaska Air Group