Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia: zero-emission aircraft

Partnership brings hydrogen-electric propulsion to the forefront of aviation

Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia have teamed up to develop the world’s largest zero-emission aircraft, with the goal of revolutionizing the aviation industry and significantly reducing its carbon footprint. The partnership, which includes the retrofitting of a Bombardier Q400 regional turboprop with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system, has garnered support from state and local government representatives and could pave the way for a more sustainable future in air travel.

“Our state has a rich history of leadership in aerospace and we’re proud to be at the center of a technological revolution in zero-emission flight.”

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

The retrofitting process

Alaska Airlines has provided ZeroAvia with a retired Bombardier Q400 turboprop, which will be retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system. This effort aims to expand the reach and applicability of zero-emissions flight technology. The aircraft was repainted with a special livery to highlight the innovative mission of this partnership.

Breakthrough electric motor technology

ZeroAvia has unveiled its advanced multi-megawatt modular electric motor system, demonstrated in a 1.8MW prototype configuration. The technology, combined with higher temperature PEM fuel cells and advanced power electronics, represents a significant advancement in hydrogen fuel cell engines for larger aircraft.

Aligning powertrain with the Dash 8-400

By aligning ZeroAvia’s powertrain with the Dash 8-400 airframe, the partnership is working towards creating a commercially viable zero-emission aircraft with fuel cell engine technology that is around five times more powerful than any demonstrated to date. This development puts the partnership on track for a test flight next year.

Rapid progress towards certification

ZeroAvia’s recent advancements demonstrate rapid progress toward certification of the ZA2000 propulsion system. The company has already established a successful track record of world-first flight testing, including flying a retrofitted 19-seat aircraft with its prototype 600kW hydrogen-electric engine (ZA600) in January.

The future of zero-emission regional flights

In 2021, Alaska Airlines invested in ZeroAvia to support the development of zero-emissions propulsion technology for regional aircraft. As the fifth largest U.S. airline with a large regional network, Alaska Airlines is in a unique position to advance zero-emissions technology across the industry.

The partnership between Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia holds great promise for the future of sustainable air travel. With support from government representatives and a clear vision for innovation, the development of the world’s largest zero-emission aircraft is well underway. As the aviation industry moves towards decarbonization, this groundbreaking collaboration is a significant step in the right direction, paving the way for a greener, cleaner future.


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