Biggest hydrogen fuel plane flies for first time

Universal Hydrogen has successfully completed the first test flight of its hydrogen fuel plane, currently the largest of its kind. The company has been modifying the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300 aircraft, replacing one of its engines with a MagniX electric motor, which is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The plane has two hydrogen tanks with a capacity of 30 kilograms of fuel. The test flight lasted for 15 minutes, with the fuel cell providing up to 800 kilowatts of electricity and producing only water vapor as emissions. Universal Hydrogen will conduct further flight tests before the plane can be used conventionally.

The largest H2-powered aircraft has now started its test flights, which have been successful.

Universal Hydrogen recently announced that the hydrogen fuel plane it has been developing – currently the largest in existence – has started its test flights, and so far, so good.

Though electric batteries work for passenger vehicles, aircraft need substantially more power.

As aircraft require considerably more power than cars, batteries typically aren’t seen as a viable source of energy for that application. Instead, companies have been working on hydrogen fuel planes, among other options. In the case of H2-powered aircraft, the flights can be achieved carbon emission free without sacrificing the power needed due to H2’s energy density.

This is precisely the case with Universal Hydrogen, which has been working on its own H2-powered aircraft. It began its testing in February, at which time it completed the taxiing phase. That phase was critical for obtaining a special airworthiness certificate for its experimental test aircraft, a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300. With that certificate, it was permitted to move forward with its first flight, which would launch a planned two-year testing series.

The Dash 8-300 hydrogen fuel plane has been heavily modified to be able to run on H2.

The Dash 8-300’s conventional design is for a regional turboprop aircraft with seating for approximately 50 passengers, depending on internal configuration. However, the substantial modifications made by Universal Hydrogen changed the aircraft considerably.

Hydrogen fuel plane - Universal Hydrogen's First Flight Day-of Documentary - Universal Hydrogen Co. YouTube

For example, an entire engine was replaced with a MagniX electric motor. That motor is powered by electricity from a megawatt-class hydrogen fuel cell. To accommodate the necessary fuel, the aircraft also has two H2 tanks with a capacity of 30 kilograms of fuel.

First Flight

hydrogen news ebookThe hydrogen fuel plane – which has been nicknamed Lightning McClean – has successfully completed its first flight, which lasted for fifteen minutes. During that time, it reached a 3,500-foot above sea level altitude. The fuel cell provided the aircraft with up to 800 kilowatts of electricity during the test flight, producing only water vapor as its emissions. The test consumed about 16 kilograms of H2.

This is only the first of a spectrum of flight tests the aircraft will undergo before it is deemed ready for conventional use.

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via Hydrogen Fuel News

Categories: Energy