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    Test centre established for hydrogen-powered aircraft


A centre at an international airport in the US state of Washington will host tests for a turboprop aircraft.

by: Daniel Graeber

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Test centre established for hydrogen-powered aircraft

US corporate allies said August 4 they had established a centre at an airport in the state of Washington to focus on test flights for hydrogen-powered aircraft.

A team consisting of Universal Hydrogen, aerospace testing entity AeroTEC, Plug Power and magniX, a developer of aircraft propulsion systems, said they created the Hydrogen Aviation Test and Service Center at the Grant County International Airport.

A hydrogen power train system will utilise propulsion units from magniX and fuel cells from Plug Power to test Universal Hydrogen’s conversion of a turboprop aircraft. AeroTEc will lead the flight testing and certification process.

“The decarbonisation of aviation through hydrogen is critical for a zero-carbon economy,” Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said.

Universal Hydrogen said the hydrogen-powered aircraft could ferry as many as 60 passengers on routes up to 1,000 km. The company said it expected hydrogen will be procured from modular units that can be transported using existing infrastructure.

In October, Airbus, among the world’s largest aviation manufacturers, announced it was targeting green hydrogen as a fuel source for a zero-emission aircraft. While costs are an issue now, the company said that as hydrogen production scales up, it could be competitive against jet fuel.

Universal Hydrogen said it expects the turboprop, hydrogen-fuelled aircraft will be available for commercial service by 2025.