Hydrogen-powered passenger flights in Europe from 2025

In a new collaboration between oil giant Shell, UK hydrogen aviation pioneer ZeroAvia, and Rotterdam The Hague Airport, commercial hydrogen-powered flights from Rotterdam are planned for 2025.

Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport have inked collaboration agreements with ZeroAvia. By the end of 2024, the parties will create a model for how hydrogen will operate in airports and plan demonstration flights to Europe before launching regular passenger flights in 2025.

This particular collaboration will focus on serving the first hydrogen flight from Rotterdam, including operation at the airport, developing on-the-ground infrastructure and operations to satisfactorily pilot distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation, leading towards decarbonizing the entire airport ecosystem. This follows the cooperation commitment announced last year to launch the first hydrogen-electric commercial flight.

The project’s end goal is to facilitate airplane operations with the hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines from ZeroAvia. The parties intend to build routes to European airports within a 250-nautical-mile radius of Rotterdam for these specialized demonstration flights. ZeroAvia showcased a 19-seat aircraft’s first flight last month using its experimental ZA600 engine.

In order to facilitate the smooth introduction of the potential fuel, this project will also focus on the establishment of aviation-specific standards and practices around safety, refueling, and hydrogen management. In order to coordinate the initial demonstration flight and any subsequent commercial flights, the parties will consult with possible airline operators.

Shell contributes technological know-how and crucial experiences to the project. This knowledge is based on global experiences with the design and operation of refueling equipment, including hydrogen, and end-to-end hydrogen supply chains. The development of regional and global hydrogen economies is the goal of Shell’s investments in hydrogen-producing projects. Shell works with airports to create future-ready infrastructure as part of its decarbonization efforts, enabling it to provide clients with sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen, and “multi-modular” infrastructure for charging electric planes.

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