They complete the world’s first flight of an electric plane powered by liquid hydrogen

Isbel Lázaro.
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Inspenet, September 11, 2023.

H2Fly, a Stuttgart-based company specializing in hydrogen propulsion systems for electric aircraft, has successfully announced the completion of the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen .

The company has carried out a total of four flights powered by liquid hydrogen as part of its testing campaign, including one mission that lasted more than three hours. These were executed using the HY4 demonstration aircraft, which is equipped with a propulsion system that uses a hydrogen electric fuel cell and also uses liquid hydrogen stored at cryogenic temperatures for its operation.

The results indicate that by opting for liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen, the maximum flight range of the HY4 aircraft will be doubled, going from 750 km to 1,500 km. This advance marks a fundamental milestone towards the availability of medium and long-haul commercial aircraft that do not emit pollutants.

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The company opted for liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen

“This achievement marks a milestone in the use of hydrogen to power aircraft. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated the viability of liquid hydrogen to support medium and long-range emission-free flights,” said Professor Josef Kallo, co-founder of H2Fly.

“We are now looking to expand our technology for regional aircraft and other applications, beginning the critical mission of decarbonizing commercial aviation,” he added.

HY4 flight marks a new beginning

The successful campaign represents a significant achievement for the German company, highlighting its deep research knowledge. Additionally, this achievement marks the conclusion of Project Heaven, a consortium backed by the European government, which came together for the purpose of demonstrating the feasibility of using cryogenic liquid hydrogen in aircraft.

H2Fly leads this consortium and has partners such as Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies and Fundación Ayesa.

In addition to the HEAVEN initiative, funding for this project has been provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMVD) and Ulm University.

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