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ZeroAvia, Otto Aviation team for hydrogen-electric future

California-based green hydrogen-electric flight solutions company ZeroAvia, which recently announced a partnership with Shell, announced its newest collaboration with Otto Aviation, creator of the bullet-shaped Celera aircraft prototype.

Under the agreement, the companies plan to integrate ZeroAvia’s ZA600 zero-emission engines with Otto’s Celera 500L aircraft. ZeroAvia said in a press release, “The collaboration has the potential to make the Celera the first new airframe design to leverage zero-emission propulsion in its launch models.”

The Celera 500L is designed to be an efficient, cost-effective, transcontinental aircraft. With 55 test flights under its belt, the Celera is scalable to 19 passengers, and is designed for exceptionally low drag across the entire airframe. ZeroAvia explained, “The design of the Celera fuselage, empennage and wings take advantage of laminar flow… When coupled with highly fuel-efficient propulsion systems, the Celera will significantly reduce operating costs and increase range relative to comparable aircraft, while creating optimal passenger comfort and cargo capacity.”

By incorporating ZeroAvia’s powertrain, Celera can offer long-range, zero-emission flights and reduce operating costs, thanks to reduced costs of maintenance and falling hydrogen-fuel prices.

According to Bloomberg NEF, the price of hydrogen made from solar or wind electricity will continue to fall and is poised to be cheaper than blue and gray hydrogen, traditionally made from fossil fuels.

In the press release, ZeroAvia said, “The Celera design is highly conducive to accommodate large volumes of hydrogen within the fuselage that will enable 1,000 nautical miles of range… With non-carbon emissions from relatively inefficient, high temperature combustion contributing over half of the total climate impact of aviation, long range hydrogen-electric aircraft such as Celera will play an important role in eliminating all climate impacts of aviation.”

In the announcement William Otto, CEO of Otto Aviation, said, “ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain helps us to realize the commitment Otto has made to lower operating costs and climate impact for operators. Otto is looking to provide the most efficient aircraft in all senses of the word: minimizing maintenance and operating costs and reducing emissions.”

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia founder and CEO, said, “The majority of our commercial deals to date have focused on retrofit and line-fit for existing airframes, which is essential to deliver zero-emission flight to market as quickly as possible. However, efficiency gains from new airframe design can expand the impact of zero-emission aviation. We are pleased to collaborate with innovators, like Otto Aviation, bringing cutting-edge clean sheet designs to market as we can optimize the hydrogen-electric propulsion system for those designs.”

ZeroAvia’s development of a 600-kilowatt powertrain is also part of Project HyFlyer II, a program backed by the government of the United Kingdom that has funded development of various hydrogen-powered prototypes including a 19-seat Dornier 228 to be tested in California.

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