Natilus and ZeroAvia to jointly develop hydrogen-electric engines
Blended-wing aircraft developer, Natilus and ZeroAvia have announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop hydrogen-electric engines for Natilus’ Kona cargo aircraft.
ZeroAvia’s ZA600 system will be the sole hydrogen-electric propulsion source offered for the novel Kona short-haul feeder UAV. Natilus recently validated the performance of the blended-wing body (BWB) design with flight testing of a quarter-scale Kona prototype aircraft, following three years of extensive wind-tunnel testing. ZeroAvia has now conducted eight test flights of its prototype ZA600, 600kW engine in a 19-seat testbed aircraft.
Aleksey Matyushev, co-founder and CEO of Natilus, said: “Natilus has a long-term commitment to being a responsible steward of our environment, instituting practices that can protect the environment through continual improvements to save fuel and water, reduce waste, air emissions, noise, and material consumption. The Natilus-ZeroAvia partnership goes further, bringing the talents and innovations of the two companies together to deliver much needed innovation in the air cargo delivery industry and multiple solutions for our customers.”
Natilus has more than $6.8bn in order commitments and over 460 aircraft in pre-orders, from companies including: Ameriflight, Volatus Aerospace and Flexport. The firm is now working on construction of a full-scale Kona technology demonstrator, which will have a wingspan of 85 feet (26 meters).
Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, added: “Given Natilus’ impressive order book and corresponding technology development, working together on integrating the ZA600 as a line-fit engine for Kona can multiply the emissions and costs benefits that are already interesting cargo operators. We all depend on air cargo operators, and some communities depend on them absolutely, so improving the economics and environmental impacts of these operations while increasing service levels is a massive opportunity.”