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Hydrogen-electric aircraft: towards a sustainable future for the aviation sector?

Despite the negative impact of the covid-19 crisis on the aviation industry, innovative projects based on the use of hydrogen pave the way for sustainable aviation.

(Credit: Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia CEO)

Each journey with an aircraft pollutes on average 6 times more than the same journey by train (source: BBC), making the aviation sector a major contributor to the world's global pollution.

This has led to the emergence of an urgent need for more sustainable solutions. The British start-up ZeroAvia is the first in the world to successfully complete a six passengers flight with Hydrogen fuel. The airplane used green hydrogen produced on-site, with a Hydrogen Electrolyser using renewable energy coming from the company's wind farm and photovoltaic field. This innovation, supported by the United-Kingdom government within the HyFlyer project, could revolutionize the future of zero-emission aircraft.

(Credit: ZeroAvia)

The start-up is working hard in order to be able to decarbonise commercial transportation in the long term and on a wider scale. They have planned to launch a zero-carbon aircraft with more than 200 seats and approximately 5 000 Nautical Miles by 2040.

(Credit: ZeroAvia)

The stakes are high for the aviation business, which is under heavy pressure from the public and from the authorities. Therefore, other major aviation players such as Airbus also have ambitious goals for large hydrogen commercial aircraft. Airbus projects aim at producing three types of zero-emission hydrogen aircraft by 2035. You can check our previous post on that announcement made by Airbus in September 2020 (for French speakers):

(Source: Airbus)

And to find out more about the use of hydrogen in aviation, you can check this paper from Airbus:

If you would like to check the ZeroAvia website:

These companies contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 7 - "Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy".

The Dauphine Futuria Team.

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