Universal Hydrogen airplane fueled by hydrogen cells completes its maiden flight successfully for a 15-minute flight reaching an altitude of 3,500 MSL at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, heralding a big step forward towards zero-emission flying.
This flight was a significant step forward for both organizations in their efforts to make hydrogen-powered flying a reality. The 40-passenger jet was powered by Plug ProGen fuel cells, marking a watershed moment for both firms that collaborated to make hydrogen-powered flying a reality. Universal Hydrogen and its partners spent months at Moses Lake preparing the plane, dubbed Lightning McClean, for today’s maiden airborne test, which was done under the terms of an innovative airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane only had two pilots, one engineer, and a lot of technology on board, such as an electric motor and a hydrogen fuel cell. The inside was reduced to two workstations of sensors and electronics, as well as two enormous hydrogen tanks holding 30 kg of fuel.
An electric motor from magniX was powered beneath the plane’s right wing by Plug Power’s innovative hydrogen fuel cell. This device converts hydrogen into energy and water, creating an emission-free engine that many experts see as the future of aviation.
Plug’s ProGen fuel cell technology enables fleets to have a better range, weigh less, and even cost less than batteries while emitting no CO2. This innovative technology has the potential to transform the aviation sector by lowering weight, saving firms money with extended range times, and eliminating hazardous carbon dioxide emissions from air travel.
Although a Dash 8 is being utilized for flight testing, Universal Hydrogen’s primary objective is to convert a different kind of regional aircraft, the ATR 72-600, to use hydrogen fuel, with testing expected for 2025. After Universal Hydrogen airplane fueled by hydrogen cells completes its maiden flight successfully, Universal Hydrogen intends to modify its test aircraft to operate on liquid hydrogen by late 2023. The business will continue to develop software and, eventually, adapt the plane to utilize liquid hydrogen.
Paul Emerenko, CEO and Co-Founder of Universal Hydrogen, mentioned how the A320 and 737 families account for more than half of all aviation CO2 emissions. Both Airbus and Boeing need to replace these ancient jets with a new design that will enter passenger service in the mid-2030s, beginning development in the late 2020s. This presents an excellent opportunity for the aviation sector to get close to fulfilling Paris Agreement emissions objectives without having to reduce aircraft traffic levels.
Universal Hydrogen is one of a rising number of aviation firms attempting to cut carbon emissions by using cleaner fuel technologies like green hydrogen and all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems. Longer-term plans call for it to expand its modular hydrogen fueling system to single-aisle passenger jets like the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737.
Source: Universal Hydrogen