The UK’s ZeroAvia, a leader in hydrogen powered aviation, has announced a collaboration with its strategic investor Shell, who will design and build two commercial-scale mobile refuellers for use at ZeroAvia’s research and development site in Hollister, California.

Shell will also provide compressed, low-carbon hydrogen supply to the facility and other locations in the Western US through ZeroAvia’s test facility in Hollister.

This strategic collaboration will support ZeroAvia’s flight testing program in the US and will advance the company’s hydrogen airport refueling ecosystem.

The deal comes as ZeroAvia has unveiled Europe’s first landside-to-airside hydrogen airport pipeline at ZeroAvia’ development hanger at the private general aviation Cotswold Airport, a former RAF base and once home to the Red Arrows.

ZeroAvia’s zero-emission powertrains use hydrogen fuel in a fuel cell to create a chemical reaction which produces electricity. That electricity then powers electric motors that spin the propellers, while producing no emissions other than water.

Arnab Chatterjee, VP Infrastructure, ZeroAvia, says, “These milestone announcements represent significant hydrogen infrastructure advancement for ZeroAvia and the industry. Hydrogen-electric aviation is the only practical, holistic, and economically attractive solution to aviation’s growing climate change impact. Fuel provision needs to be economical and convenient for airlines to achieve operational cost benefits and ZeroAvia is leading these pioneering infrastructure developments together with leading partners like Shell.”

“Shell recognises the aviation sector has unique challenges in decarbonisation and needs practical and scalable net-zero solutions,” adds Oliver Bishop, General Manager, Hydrogen at Shell. “We believe ZeroAvia’s technology is a viable option, and this agreement will allow us to demonstrate successful provision of low-carbon hydrogen supply while supporting development of codes, standards, and refuelling protocols for hydrogen-powered aviation.”