Shell, ZeroAvia, RHIA, The Hague Airport aim for hydrogen-powered flights


The Netherlands – Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport (RHIA) have all signed collaboration agreements with ZeroAvia. By the end of 2024, the parties will create a model for how hydrogen will operate in airports and plan demonstration flights to Europe before launching regular passenger flights in 2025.

This particular collaboration will focus on serving the first hydrogen flight from Rotterdam, including operation at the airport, developing on-the-ground infrastructure and operations to satisfactorily pilot distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation, leading towards decarbonizing the entire airport ecosystem. This follows the cooperation commitment announced last year to launch the first hydrogen-electric commercial flight.

The project’s end goal is to facilitate airplane operations with the hydrogen-electric, zero-emission ZA600 engines from ZeroAvia. The parties want to build routes to European airports within a 250-nautical-mile radius of Rotterdam for these specific demonstration flights. ZeroAvia showcased a 19-seat aircraft’s first flight last month using its experimental ZA600 engine.

Standards and practices

In order to facilitate the smooth introduction of the potential fuel, this project will also focus on the establishment of aviation-specific standards and practices around safety, refueling, and hydrogen management. In order to coordinate the initial demonstration flight and any subsequent commercial flights, the parties will consult with possible airline operators.

HyFlyer II

As part of HyFlyer II, an R&D project financed in part by the UK Government’s ATI program, ZeroAvia is testing the ZA600 powertrain in the air. Along with project partner EMEC, ZeroAvia has continued to build its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) prototype, and the company has also independently created a hydrogen refueling pipeline at Cotswold Airport.