Birmingham Airport (BHX) in the UK has partnered with hydrogen-electric-powered aircraft provider ZeroAvia in an effort to get an emission-free 80-seat aircraft flying up to 1,000 nautical miles by 2027.
ZeroAvia’s emissions-free aircraft goal would make zero-emission travel to Mediterranean holiday destinations a reality. The company is currently working on bringing to market a zero-emission system capable of flying 20-seat aircraft 300 nautical miles by 2025, which would open up the possibility of green air travel from Birmingham to destinations like Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast and Dublin. 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, with the only byproduct being water.
The airport plans to use an area near its disused Elmdon terminal building as a potential location for hydrogen refueling infrastructure, testing and operations. For BHX, the partnership with ZeroAvia forms part of its journey to become a net-zero-carbon airport by 2033, as outlined in its ‘carbon roadmap’. The companies plan to make on-airfield hydrogen refueling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft a reality in the coming years.
Arnab Chatterjee, vice president of infrastructure for ZeroAvia, said, “Birmingham Airport can be a central spoke 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 [UK government] 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 Birmingham Airport, said, “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 BHX in the UK in a few years. That’s mind-blowing.”
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