“Climate Solutions: Can Airplanes Go Green?”

“Val Miftakhov flew Europe’s largest commercial-grade all-electric passenger plane last month”

“When Val Miftakhov touched down at Cranfield Airport in England last month, his Piper Malibu Mirage six-seater became the first commercial-grade, zero-emission airplane to fly in Europe. That test flight was just 21 miles. But Miftakhov, the chief executive of a Silicon Valley start-up called ZeroAvia, envisions a future of passenger planes that fly on hydrogen-powered electricity, not jet fuel.

Air travel accounts for about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions — much less than produced by cars. Despite a temporary dip due to the coronavirus, demand for air travel has been dramatically growing and planes are projected to produce as much as 25 percent of global carbon emissions by 2050.

Miftakhov’s Piper was powered by batteries, but his company is working on integrating a hydrogen fuel cell for aviation. He conceived of ZeroAvia only a few years ago, but his aspirations for designing a hydrogen-powered plane date to childhood. A pilot with a doctorate in physics, he’s flown all of the company’s early prototypes.”

Ilana Marcus reports for the Washington Post July 31, 2020.