ZeroAvia and Alaska Airlines publicly presented the largest hydrogen-powered aircraft to date during an event at Paine Field, near Seattle, Washington on May 1, 2023.
The airplane is a 76-seat Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 that used to fly for Alaska Airlines subsidiary Horizon Air. When the airline retired its Q400 fleet, it kept one of the airframes for its partner ZeroAvia to use as a research test bank.
ZeroAvia is a pioneering startup in the field of hydrogen aviation and has already been fly-testing several smaller aircraft, including a specially modified Dornier Do228.
Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia have been partners since 2021 and the Alaskan carrier even became an investor in the latter. De Havilland of Canada, which is the Q400 manufacturer, is also collaborating in the project.
ZeroAvia founder, Val Miftakhov said: “Launching this program puts us on track for a test flight next year, and accelerates our progress toward the future of zero-emission flight for Alaska Airlines and for the world at large.”
ZeroAvia expects to fit the Q400 with its up-and-coming ZA2000 hydrogen-fuel cell powertrain. The company has previously tested the smaller and less powerful ZA600 powertrain.
During the event ZeroAvia also presented a multi-megawatt modular electric motor system in a 1.8MW prototype configuration made up of two 900kW motor modules that match the performance of a typical turbine engine.