American Airlines Eyes Hydrogen-Powered CRJ700s


American Airlines issued a news release Tuesday saying it has signed a conditional purchase agreement to buy 100 hydrogen-electric engines from ZeroAvia with a goal of powering a fleet of regional airliners, possibly retrofitted CRJ700s, with them. The ZeroAvia system uses hydrogen in fuel cells to create electricity that runs conventional electric motors turning propellers. American is an investor in the European startup and also upped its stake in the company, although it didn’t say by how much. The company is currently flight testing a 20-seat aircraft and developing a bigger system that would be capable of powering the CRJ700, American said in the release.

“Advancing the transition of commercial aviation to a low-carbon future requires investments in promising technologies, including alternate forms of propulsion,” said American’s CEO Robert Isom. “This announcement will help accelerate the development of technologies needed to power our industry and uphold our commitment to make American a sustainable airline so we can continue to deliver for customers for decades to come.” American said it’s part of American’s quest to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.