ZeroAvia has agreed to explore the development of hydrogen fuel infrastructure with AGS Airports, including regulatory framework requirements and resourcing required for delivering zero-emission flights from Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.

AGS owns and operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, and will work with ZeroAvia to assess opportunities for hydrogen production onsite, as well as exploring potential commercial routes.

Switching some routes to aircraft powered by ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain will help AGS Airports to significantly reduce carbon emissions from aircraft and reduce noise and air quality impacts locally.

AGS will explore how hydrogen can be used to remove emissions across ground operations, while ZeroAvia will share its experience in developing and operating its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire.

The partners will work towards a flight demonstration powered by ZeroAvia’s ZA600 600kW hydrogen-electric engine, which is on a path towards certification by 2025. Commercial routes from Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, could follow soon after.

Arnab Chatterjee, VP for infrastructure at ZeroAvia, said: “In recent months we have stepped up our work with airports significantly to better understand the operational needs and requirements for hydrogen as a fuel.

“Working with the team at AGS allows us to plan for some of the commercial routes that we will be able to support in a little over two years’ time and do so in the setting of a major international airport.”

AGS Airports chief executive Derek Provan added: “The development of hydrogen powered aircraft has the potential to completely revolutionise aviation and is becoming an increasingly viable option for regional and short-haul aircraft.

“As a regional airport group serving the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as well as the Channel Islands from Southampton, AGS will be the perfect testbed for hydrogen flight. Through our partnership with ZeroAvia we will address some of the challenges associated with generation, delivery and storage of hydrogen on-site.”

One month ago, ZeroAvia acquired fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint, whose advanced high-temperature fuel cell technology for increasing power output and energy density of aviation fuel cell powertrains will add to ZeroAvia’s expertise in developing the full powertrain to enable hydrogen-electric flight.

In August, the Care and Equity, Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland (CAELUS) Project secured £10.1 million funding from the Future Flight Challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Led by AGS Airports, CAELUS brings together 16 partners that also includes NATS and NHS Scotland.