Natilus, a pioneering force in the design and development of autonomous blended-wing body (BWB) cargo aircraft, has joined forces with ZeroAvia, a frontrunner in zero-emission commercial aviation, to forge a strategic partnership aimed at jointly creating hydrogen-electric engines for the Natilus Kona cargo aircraft. ZeroAvia's remarkable ZA600 engine will exclusively serve as the hydrogen-electric propulsion system for the groundbreaking Kona short-haul feeder UAV, with the alliance focused on delivering environmentally friendly and cost-effective operations.
The Natilus Kona, boasting an ingenious BWB design, offers enhanced capacity for hydrogen storage, potentially revolutionizing the air cargo delivery industry by enabling low-cost and low carbon emissions operations while extending flight range. Leveraging ZeroAvia's expertise in hydrogen-electric powertrain technology and Natilus' distinctive design, this collaboration aims to develop a scalable, long-range, and emission-free air cargo delivery solution that will benefit the entire industry.
Having recently validated the performance of the BWB design through flight testing of a quarter-scale Kona prototype aircraft, following rigorous wind-tunnel testing spanning three years, Natilus stands as a testament to innovative progress. Meanwhile, ZeroAvia has successfully conducted eight test flights of its prototype ZA600 engine, a remarkable 600kW powerplant, in a 19-seat testbed aircraft.
Aleksey Matyushev, Co-founder and CEO of Natilus, expressed the company's commitment to environmental responsibility, stating, "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."
Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, acknowledged the significance of the collaboration, remarking, "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 cost 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."