In mid-January, a 19-seat plane took flight outside a small town in England, making history. To date, it is the largest aircraft powered by a hydrogen-electric engine.
While this may not initially sound like a huge deal, make no mistake — it’s enormous.
The aviation industry is attacked regularly for being unsustainable and a notorious culprit in contributing to the overheating of our planet. And as the world races to stave off the effects of warming temperatures, it’s crucial to find leaner and greener alternatives to jet fuel.
So when ZeroAvia announced that its zero-pollution 19-seater had a successful maiden flight, it was a monumental milestone toward finding more sustainable options for air travel.
The magnitude of the flight was not lost on ZeroAvia’s CEO, Val Miftakhov.
“This is a major moment, not just for ZeroAvia, but for the aviation industry as a whole, as it shows that true zero-pollution commercial flight is only a few years away,” Miftakhov explained in a press statement. “This is only the beginning — we are building the future of sustainable, zero climate impact aviation.”
ZeroAvia has ambitious plans to create commercial planes that use “green hydrogen” fuel by the year 2025, a move that could revolutionize the industry. Green hydrogen is a fuel that is made by using clean energy to turn water into hydrogen gas. And when this fuel is used, it doesn’t produce dirty carbon pollution.
Currently, most of the hydrogen fuel we use is produced from dirty energy sources like methane gas. But thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, companies can receive government subsidies for creating green hydrogen fuel.
As of now, the aviation sector is going in the wrong direction in terms of sustainability, representing one of the fastest-growing sources of planet-heating pollution. But this landmark flight could be a step in the right direction.