The firm behind the world”s first hydrogen-electric powered passenger plane flight is hoping to extend the range of the aircraft by the end of the year.
ZeroAvia made the breakthrough by completing a 15-minute flight at an airfield in southern England last month.
“It is not the future, it’s reality,” Sergey Kiselev, ZeroAvia’s European chief told Euronews in an interview on Thursday, referring to hydrogen-powered planes. “We are working on expanding the range of the reach of the aircraft. By the end of the year, this exact aircraft will be able to fly about 300 nautical miles, here in the UK.”
It is hoped ZeroAvia’s maiden flight will be the first step in making one of the most polluting industries green.
“The only emission from this aeroplane in flight is water vapour,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia, back in September.
“We also a fueling infrastructure set up that ensures zero-emission production of hydrogen itself. It’s clean, it’s less noisy, and they will be able to fly without feeling guilty for flying.”
For now, these planes can only fly short distances and carry few passengers, but engineers claim the science points toward zero-carbon emissions, long-haul flights by the end of this decade.
Aerospace giant Airbus recently previewed concept designs for its own zero-emission hydrogen aircraft.
But it’s not straightforward – airports are geared to refuel gas-guzzling jets. Rolling out this technology would mean a major overhaul on the ground too.
Watch more of Kiselev’s interview in the video player, above.