On September 7, 2020, it was announced that Hyzon Motors’ Hydrogen Fuel Stack was chosen by ZeroAvia for its zero emission aircraft prototype. Hyzon Motors Inc. is based in Troy, and this partnership with the aviation company looks to be a positive one for both companies. ZeroAvia is developing an aircraft that will run on hydrogen fuel cells, in the hopes that it will lead to a line of aircraft no longer dependent on fossil fuels.
Presently, aviation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses, and a transition to hydrogen fuel cells would mean a rapid decrease in aircraft emissions globally. The main issue remains that aircraft need larger fuel cells to accommodate their energy needs, and few companies presently manufacture fuel cells at this capacity. However, as ZeroAvia CEO Val Miftakhov points out, hydrogen provides three times the energy content of jet fuel, and when burned, produces only oxygen and water as byproducts. This is exponentially better than battery technology as seen in electric and hybrid automobiles.
Hyzon’s hydrogen fuel stack was considered the best candidate for the prototype aircraft, in that, through the use of proprietary technology, it achieves greater power density needed for aviation and the rate of energy burned by an aircraft needed to remain airborne. Initially, the fuel cells will be tested by ZeroAvia through simulated duty cycles, and will include the usual round of aircraft functions such as stake off, cruising, landing and taxiing. The company will also test the fuel cells’ performance under duress, such as rapid altitude changes or unexpected course alteration. Once the ground tests at ZeroAvia aviation company prove successful, the fuel cells will be tested in the prototype aircraft. If all goes well, they could be producing zero emissions aircraft by 2024.