ZeroAvia to collaborate with MHIRJ to design retrofit and line fit options for hydrogen-electric regional jets
ZeroAvia has expanded its agreement with MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (earlier post). As part of the broader collaboration, MHIRJ will provide engineering services, aircraft integration, and its OEM experience to support the certification of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain for retrofit onto airframes in the regional jet markets.
ZeroAvia is already well advanced in plans to certify its ZA600, 600kW powertrain for smaller, 10-20 seat aircraft, with entry into service planned for 2024. Concurrently, the company is working on ZA2000, a 2-5MW modular powertrain which targets support for 40-80 seat turboprops by 2026. The ZA2000RJ powertrain will expand this technology to enable passengers to fly in zero-emission regional jets as early as the late 2020s.
This new agreement places MHI RJ’s CRJ Series aircraft as a frontrunner for the earliest operations using zero-emission engines. More than 2,000 CRJ Series aircraft have been built since the launch of the program, effectively establishing itself as the backbone of regional aviation in the United States.
This expanded agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties at the end of last year.
The agreement is the first for MHIRJ’s Aerospace Engineering Center (AEC) in the hydrogen propulsion field. MHIRJ’s Aerospace Engineering Center aims to provide engineering, design and certification services to third parties using the wide expertise and experience of its engineering team.
In the last quarter of 2021, ZeroAvia secured partnerships and funding with major airlines Alaska Air Group and United Airlines to accelerate the development of its ZA2000 engine, the largest of ZeroAvia’s current powertrain platforms. This announcement with MHIRJ closely follows ZeroAvia’s expansion of its Hollister location in California and a deal with Shell for hydrogen supply, as well as the opening of a new facility at Paine Field in Washington State in January.