The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

ZeroAvia, AGS Airports Partner to Bring Hydrogen-powered Aviation to Scotland

Hydrogen-electric propulsion system developer ZeroAvia is teaming up with AGS Airports as part of its efforts to ensure fueling infrastructure is in place to support aircraft. Through their new partnership, the companies will explore the hydrogen fuel infrastructure, regulatory requirements, and other resources that will be necessary to support hydrogen-powered aviation at Aberdeen International Airport and Glasgow International Airport in Scotland.

AGS—which owns and operates Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, as well as Southampton in England—will also work with ZeroAvia’s infrastructure team to determine the feasibility of on-site hydrogen fuel production at its facilities. 

In addition to the hydrogen infrastructure, the airport group plans to explore potential commercial routes that will utilize aircraft retrofitted with ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric propulsion systems, which will help its airports curb emissions and reduce noise. According to ZeroAvia, the types of regional airliners that it plans to convert with its hydrogen-electric powertrain already operate from Glasgow Airport, and the company hopes to expand zero-emission flights across the AGS group to Aberdeen and Southampton.

“The development of hydrogen-powered aircraft has the potential to completely revolutionize aviation, and it is becoming an increasingly viable option for regional and short-haul aircraft,” said Derek Provan, CEO of AGS. “As a regional airport group serving the highlands and islands of Scotland as well as the Channel Islands from Southampton, AGS will be the perfect testbed for hydrogen flight. Through our partnership with ZeroAvia, we’ll address some of the challenges associated with the generation, delivery, and storage of hydrogen on-site and how we can prepare our infrastructure to support zero-emission flights. ” 

ZeroAvia’s plans for hydrogen-powered aviation involve the production of two hydrogen-electric powertrains to retrofit existing aircraft. The company’s 600-kilowatt ZA600 powertrain, which is designed to support nine- to 19-seat airframes with a range of up to 300 nautical miles, will soon undergo its first-ever flight test in a 19-seat Dornier 228, according to ZeroAvia. 

The company also aims to deliver a 40- to 80-seat hydrogen-electric aircraft with a range of 700 nm by 2027. The larger aircraft will utilize a two- to five-megawatt ZA2000 powertrain and will run on liquid hydrogen, while the smaller one will use hydrogen gas. In these powertrains, hydrogen will feed into fuel cell stacks that generate power by converting hydrogen into electricity.

As part of the new arrangement, ZeroAvia says it will share with AGS “its experience in developing and operating its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire.” The HARE is an ongoing project ZeroAvia is conducting as part of its work with the UK government-backed HyFlyer II program, in partnership with the European Marine Energy Center, which produces “green” hydrogen using wind and tidal energy in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Although it is based in Hollister, California, ZeroAvia has a research and development facility at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire, a county of South West England. The company announced last month that it has partnered with Berkeley Green University Technical College in Gloucestershire, offering university students the opportunity to work directly with its hydrogen-electric powertrains through school work-based projects, mentoring, and apprenticeships.