LONDON – ZeroAvia has announced signing a collaboration agreement with Royal Dutch Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and Rotterdam the Hague Innovation Airport, also known as RHIA. Together they will develop and advance their plan for hydrogen-electric flights.
After a successful first flight in January of 2023 powered by its prototype ZA600 engine, ZeroAvia and Royal Dutch Shell are going to be collaborating together with Rotterdam The Hague Airport and RHIA.
The group partnership will work to develop airside and ground-side infrastructure for hydrogen aircraft.
This will include operation at the airport, developing on-the-ground infrastructure and operations to achieve distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation.
This will lead towards decarbonizing the whole airport ecosystem. Ultimately, the project targets supporting aircraft operations using gaseous hydrogen to fuel ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines.
For these specific demonstration flights, the parties aim to establish routes to airports in Europe within a 250-nautical-mile radius of Rotterdam.
This project will also target the development of aviation-specific standards and protocols around safety, refueling, and hydrogen management, enabling the rollout of the promising fuel seamlessly.
The parties will work together in discussions with potential airline operators for the initial demonstration and subsequent commercial flights.
In its decarbonization efforts, Shell collaborates with airports to develop fit-for-future infrastructure that will allow it to supply customers with sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen, and electric plane charging, the so-called “multi-modular” infrastructure.
Oliver Bishop, General Manager of Hydrogen at Shell, said: “This project and collaboration is a milestone as it enables a rapid decarbonization of a hard-to-electrify sector such as aviation. It also offers the chance to support one of the first international zero-emission passenger routes.”
Wilma Van Dijk, CEO, of Rotterdam The Hague Airport of Royal Schiphol Group, said: ” Hydrogen is key to decarbonize aviation.” This collaboration helps us demonstrate and validate new airport infrastructure requirements as well as concepts of operation.”
Miranda Janse, CEO of Rotterdam the Hague Innovation Airport, said: “RHIA is actively working with partners within its DutcH2 Aviation Hub program to develop hydrogen-driven flights from RTHA.”
“RHIA is happy to help facilitate this specific partnership and bring the project to life as well as creating the foundation for the partners within the community.”
Arnab Chatterjee, VP of Infrastructure, ZeroAvia, said: “Having this consortium, including Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport, and Shell, moves the ball a significant distance down the field towards our goal line of commercial operations.”
“Some first passengers on zero-emission flights in the world could be flying from Rotterdam. There is still a lot of work to do, but with clear milestones and targets identified, the hard work really starts now towards delivering the infrastructure and exploring the protocols and standards required.”
ZeroAvia has previously partnered with Shell for the provision of low carbon-intensity hydrogen to power some of its testing and early commercial operations in California.
The multinational energy company also invested in ZeroAvia last year.
ZeroAvia’s testing of the ZA600 powertrain in flight is part of HyFlyer II, an R&D project supported in part by the UK Government’s ATI program.
The project has also seen the further development of ZeroAvia’s Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) demonstrator alongside project partner EMEC, and separately ZeroAvia has developed a hydrogen refueling pipeline at Cotswold Airport.