Hydrogen pipeline installed at Cotswold Airport

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Europe’s first landside-to-airside hydrogen airport pipeline has been unveiled by ZeroAvia alongside the company’s hangar at Cotswold Airport.

ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia’s will utilise the 100m long hydrogen pipeline alongside an electrolyser and mobile refueler to use low-carbon hydrogen for its test flight program. The Anglo-American company said the pipeline will help it demonstrate and explore the operational safety case for hydrogen pipelines and refuelling infrastructure at airports.

ZeroAvia, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation, received support for the pipeline from the Department for Transport and the Connected Places Catapult as part of the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) program. ZeroAvia is also collaborating with strategic investor Shell, who will design and build two commercial-scale mobile refuelers for use at ZeroAvia’s research and development site in Hollister, California.

ZeroAvia said both projects will help it to further explore the connection between aircraft refuelling and landside hydrogen use cases, such as road transport. ZeroAvia operates multiple hydrogen fuel cell road vehicles as part of its operations at Cotswold Airport and Hollister, demonstrating the potential for airports to act as hydrogen hubs for onward transport and ground operations.

“These milestone announcements represent significant hydrogen infrastructure advancement for ZeroAvia and the industry,” Arnab Chatterjee, VP Infrastructure, ZeroAvia said in a statement. “Hydrogen-electric aviation is the only practical, holistic, and economically attractive solution to aviation’s growing climate change impact. Fuel provision needs to be economical and convenient for airlines to achieve operational cost benefits and ZeroAvia is leading these pioneering infrastructure developments together with leading partners like Shell.” 

The company has also been working alongside the Department for Transport and Connected Places Catapult on a concept study for liquid hydrogen mobile refuelling vehicles that will inform the development of a large-scale liquid hydrogen refuelling truck.

ZeroAvia will begin flight-testing its ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain this summer using two Dornier-228 testbed aircraft, first in the UK, then replicating this work on a US-based demonstrator. The development of this 600kW powertrain is part of Project HyFlyer II and is expected to deliver a fully certified powertrain for aircraft of up to 19-seats by 2024.

HyFlyer II is supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy, Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK through the ATI Programme. The company is also retrofitting a second Dornier-228 testbed in Hollister, California, to conduct further flight testing.