Hydrogen-electric aircraft developer ZeroAvia has partnered with Edmonton International Airport (EIA) in Canada to work on hydrogen infrastructure development for zero-emission flights.

The duo will explore hydrogen use for airport operations decarbonisation and the broader airport ecosystem, with plans to develop hydrogen infrastructure at both Villeneuve Airport (CZVL) and the main airport. 

They will conduct a pilot programme using a hydrogen ecosystem to fuel a demonstrator aircraft and other operations.

Thereafter, the two will collaborate to set up some of the world’s first commercial routes.

EIA VP of Air Service, Business Development, ESG and Stakeholder Relations Myron Keehn said: “We believe that hydrogen will be a key technology to decarbonise aviation and airport operations for a net-zero future.”

The initial focus will be to use gaseous hydrogen as a fuel. This will be done using ZeroAvia’s know-how in operating and developing its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE).

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Later, the two parties will explore a transition to liquid hydrogen for planes having more than 50 seats.

According to ZeroAvia, the collaboration will help better link some of Canada’s remote and underserved regions with affordable and zero-emission travel.

ZeroAvia VP of Infrastructure Arnab Chatterjee said: “The massive renewable installation, natural resources, flight operations and administrative autonomy make EIA a great partner for us.”

The latest partnership builds on EIA’s other green measures such as the construction of what it claims to be the world’s largest solar farm on the airport lands.

It comes shortly after ZeroAvia secured $30m in fresh infusion to ramp up the development of its hydrogen-electric aircraft.

Barclays’ Sustainable Impact Capital, Saudi Arabian zero-carbon city project Neom, venture capital firm AENU, and International Airlines Group provided this investment.

Zerovia is on track to start commercial operations of its nine-seat to 19-seat aircraft in 2024, targeting a range of 300 miles.

These air carriers will be powered by ZeroAvia’s 600kW (ZA600) engine, which will be flight tested for the first time in a 19-seat Dornier 228 soon.

The aircraft developer targets 1,000 miles on 40-seat to 80-seat aeroplanes, which are expected to enter service by 2026. 

In April, the British-American firm joined forces with ZEV Station to set up refuelling infrastructure across airports in the US state of California.