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De Havilland Canada and ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine program for Dash 8-400 aircraft; line-fit and retrofit

Zero-emission aviation powertrain developer ZeroAvia (earlier post) and De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a line-fit and retrofit program for De Havilland Canada’s aircraft models, using hydrogen-electric propulsion in both new and in-service aircraft.

Dhc za web2

As part of the MOU, De Havilland Canada will be issued options to purchase 50 ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric engines. These options will be confirmed once a definitive agreement has been completed between De Havilland Canada and ZeroAvia.

The companies intend to work together on a service bulletin for the Dash 8-400 type certificate offering ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engine as a line-fit option for new aircraft, as well as developing an OEM-approved retrofit program for in-service aircraft.

This program will target the use of ZeroAvia’s 2MW+ powertrain (ZA2000) for Dash 8-400 aircraft. The Dash 8-400 is one of the world’s most reliable turboprop aircraft with more than 625 delivered to customers. The global fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft has logged more than 11 million flight hours and transported more than 550 million passengers.

As part of the program, ZeroAvia will develop a flight demonstrator, with De Havilland Canada’s support, using a Dash 8-400 aircraft to aid certification and showcase the operational and commercial potential of the engine. The intention is to identify a suitable existing route utilising the aircraft and aim for entry into service within the next five years.

ZeroAvia and De Havilland Canada intend to jointly market aircraft powered by the hydrogen-electric engines to operators with power-by-the-hour (PBH) support.

In October, ZeroAvia announced a development collaboration with Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, for a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles, starting with initial deployment into a full-size Dash 8-400 aircraft.

ZeroAvia expects to fly a 19-seat aircraft using its ZA600 powertrain in the coming weeks in a hybrid configuration (one conventional engine, one hydrogen-electric) before flying the same aircraft using only hydrogen-electric engines in 2022 and building to certification by 2024.

On its ZA2000 program, ZeroAvia aims to have full thrust ground demonstrations of its 1.8MW engine variant by the end of 2022. From there, the company plans certification of its ZA2000 powertrain to support 40-80 seat aircraft with a potential range in excess of 700 nautical miles—about the distance from Toronto to Atlanta—by 2026, and eventually extending into aircraft up to 90 seats by 2027.



If Lyten comes anywhere near their specs with their lithium slulfide batteries, you should be able to meet the desired aircraft specs without using hydrogen. This will save considerable money on a per seat-mile basis.


hydrogen-electric propulsion
This is the way


The first step in the right direction for electrified aviation is the selection of the most suitable and efficient motor type.
There are two companies that are oriented in the right direction: Yasa and Whylot. Yasa has been bought up by Mercedes but has been left the freedom to act independently.
Renault bought a stake of some 20% in Whylot. In my opinion, Whylot has come up with the better solution. However, both companies are ahead of the traditional radial flux motor MFCRs.



If you can accomplish the mission with batteries, everyone wins. The cost to operate the plane is less and less energy is consumed. Unless the batteries get a lot better and the planes more efficient, we are not going to have intercontinental flight on battery power but I believe that flying 1200 miles or so on batteries is possible before the end of the decade.


I agree that both the YASA and the Whylot motors look good. I suspect that the Whylot is less expensive to make because it has less magnetic material but the YASA weighs less per kilowatt because it has less copper and iron. I just finished a consulting job involving conceptual designs for axial flux motors assuming that you could use 3D printing techniques to create the entire motor. The program was intended to advance design software that could simultaneously perform different analyses while designing. I am somewhat skeptical that you can actually print the magnetic material. Anyway, I had the job because I knew more about axial flux motors than the people developing the software. The research was jointly sponsored by DARPA and NASA and the motor specs were for 10 kW at 8000 RPM with a mass of less than 1 kg. After looking at axial flux motor design, I knew why they had picked the motor design as a project. There are a bewildering number of ways to design an axial flux motor but I ended up going with something similar to the YASA design but with an integrated coil and iron core and using a Halbach array for the magnetic rotors. Halbach array is basically a one sided magnet. See Most common use is refrigerator magnets bu there is an advantage in using them for some motor designs but not in the Whylot motor as you need a double sided magnetic field as you have a stator on both sides of the rotor.


Batteries are too heavy and take a long time to charge


@ SJC:
The three Fs (form, fit and function) of solid state batteries about to emerge on the market in some 2 years time shall parallel or exceed all necessary requirements.




Well, the bull that you are, you ought to know.

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