Advanced powertrain developer ZeroAvia is promising to launch commercial passenger flights of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft from Rotterdam The Hague airport in the Netherlands by 2025.

To be advanced through an agreement signed today with fuel supplier Shell and the operator of Rotterdam’s airport, the services will be preceded by demonstration flights by the end of 2024, ZeroAvia says.

ZeroAvia Shell RTHA Image

Source: ZeroAvia

First flight of the ZA600 aboard a converted Do 228 took place in January

In addition, the parties, which also includes an associated Rotterdam airport innovation hub, will collaborate to develop a concept of operations for the use of gaseous hydrogen in airports, including the ground fueling infrastructure required to support the flights.

ZeroAvia foresees the demonstration flights from Rotterdam serving European destinations within a 250nm (460km) radius.

It has not released details of which aircraft will be used for the effort, saying only that “the project targets supporting aircraft operations using gaseous hydrogen to fuel ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines”.

To date, the ZA600 system has only been demonstrated as part of a hybrid conversion of a Dornier 228, with the twin-turbprop’s right-hand thermal engine remaining in place. First flight of the ZA600 took place in January in the UK.

ZeroAvia hopes to line up an airline to perform the demonstration and subsequent commercial flights.

Shell has previously supplied ZeroAvia with hydrogen fuel to support test flights in California and last year also invested in the powertrain developer.

The latest pact builds on a co-operation agreement signed by the parties last year to launch a hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial flight.