New partnership formed to drive hydrogen-powered flights at Birmingham Airport

A new partnership has been formed with the aim of creating zero-emission hydrogen-powered air travel from the West Midlands.

Birmingham Airport has teamed up with ZeroAvia in a long-term tie up in the hope of making on-airfield hydrogen refuelling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft a reality in the coming years.

ZeroAvia is a British/American developer of hydrogen-electric aircraft founded in 2018, with a prototype successfully test flown in January at its base in Kemble, Gloucestershire.

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Hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft’s propellers and the only emission is water.

ZeroAvia is currently working to bring to market a zero-emission system capable of flying 20-seater aircraft 300 nautical miles by 2025 which would open up the possibility of travel from Birmingham to destinations in Scotland, Belfast, the Isle of Man and Dublin.

Longer-term, ZeroAvia is aiming to get an emissions-free, 80-seater aircraft flying up to 1,000 nautical miles by 2027 which would make travel to Mediterranean holiday destinations a reality.

Arnab Chatterjee, vice-president of infrastructure with ZeroAvia, said: “Birmingham Airport can be a central hub in a green flight network in the UK, given that any domestic mainland destination will be reachable from the airport using our first systems in 2025.

“Given the commitments of the Jet Zero Strategy on domestic aviation, it is fantastic to engage with forward-thinking airports that want to be early innovators and developers to deliver the vision of bringing truly clean, quiet and pollution-free flights to the UK.”

Simon Richards, chief finance and sustainability officer at the airport, added: “We are thrilled to partner with ZeroAvia on creating solutions to the main challenge of our generation – protecting the future of our planet.

“We could, quite conceivably, see the first hydrogen-powered domestic passenger flight taking off from Birmingham Airport in the UK in the next few years. That’s mind-blowing.”

BusinessLive – West Midlands