Textron, ZeroAvia Team on Caravan Hydrogen Conversions

 - September 29, 2022, 12:23 PM
Textron Aviation and ZeroAvia will work together on a hydrogen-electric propulsion system for Cessna Grand Caravans. The system will be retrofittable to the more than 2,400 Grand Caravans in service. (Photo: Textron Aviation)

Textron Aviation will electrify its Cessna Grand Caravan using ZeroAvia’s 600-kW hydrogen-electric propulsion system. Under a development agreement announced today, the companies will work together to obtain an FAA supplemental type certificate to retrofit the utility turboprop single using the ZA600 electric powertrain.

California-based ZeroAvia aims to complete certification of the ZA600 system by 2025. Its work will now be supported by Textron Aviation’s engineers, who will provide data and certification support. Parent company Textron has created an eAviation division to advance plans for electric-powered aircraft and earlier this year acquired electric aviation pioneer Pipistrel.

The U.S. manufacturer has already delivered more than 2,400 Grand Caravans worldwide, giving the partners a large potential retrofit market. According to ZeroAvia, the aircraft’s high-wing design makes it suitable for mounting hydrogen fuel tanks under the wings, without limiting space for passengers or freight. 

Meanwhile, ZeroAvia is continuing ground testing of a converted Dornier 228 and said it will be ready to start test flights from its facility at Cotswold Airport in the UK within the next few weeks. 

Want more? You can find a longer version of this article at FutureFlight.aero, a news and information resource developed by AIN to provide objective coverage and analysis of cutting-edge aviation technology.