ABOVE: ZeroAvia’s ZA600 engine completed phase one of flight tests aboard a Dornier 228 test-bed aircraft

ZeroAvia, developer of the hydrogen-electric ZA600 powertrain, is to partner with hydrogen storage and refuelling technology startup Verne. Under this new collaboration, the parties will evaluate the opportunities for using cryo-compressed hydrogen (CcH2) on board aircraft, as well as investigate CcH2 refuelling from gaseous and liquid hydrogen sources.

“Increasing storage capacity and refuelling speed using novel technologies is an important avenue for scaling up hydrogen aviation,” said Sergey Kiselev, Chief Business Officer for ZeroAvia. He added that with the company’s engines just a few years from commercial operations, it is “important… that [ZeroAvia] find the optimal solutions to support airport hydrogen ecosystems”.

Verne estimates that cryogenically compressed hydrogen can achieve 40% greater usable hydrogen density than its liquid counterpart and 200% greater energy density than 350 bar gaseous hydrogen, potentially enabling a much longer range. It also expects the application of CcH2 to ‘significantly reduce cost of densification and refuelling time, increase dormancy time relative to [liquid] systems, and potentially eliminate venting for pressure management’.

Verne’s large hydrogen storage systems have a capacity of up to 4MWh. The company will work with ZeroAvia to develop a model for initial airport locations in California, as well as assessing the potential benefits of implementing scalable infrastructure at airports worldwide.

“Cryo-compressed hydrogen has a key role in optimising this ecosystem,” added Ted McKlveen, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Verne.