Universal Hydrogen, whose mission is to make hydrogen aviation a near-term reality, today announced it was granted a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to proceed with the first flight of its hydrogen-powered regional aircraft.
According to a press release “The Dash 8-300 flying testbed has a megawatt-class hydrogen fuel cell powertrain installed in one of its nacelles. The powertrain is in a configuration that closely resembles the company’s first product—a conversion kit for ATR 72-600 regional airliners—which is expected to be certified and in commercial passenger service starting in 2025. Notably, Universal Hydrogen’s powertrain does not utilise a hybrid battery architecture—a major innovation—with all of the power transmitted directly from the fuel cells to the electric motor, significantly decreasing weight and lifecycle cost.
“The FAA approval clears the way for the first flight of the Dash 8-300 flying testbed which will take place at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington.
“Universal Hydrogen unveiled in December 2022 first operational tests of its modular hydrogen delivery system at its engineering centre in Toulouse, France. Those tests demonstrated a pragmatic, near-term, and highly scalable approach to hydrogen delivery to airports and into the aircraft using a modular capsule technology. This eliminates the need for costly new infrastructure, with any airport capable of handling cargo being hydrogen-ready. It also eliminates transfer losses and significantly speeds up hydrogen fuelling operations—both significant pain points for the zero-emissions fuel.”
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(Image: Universal Hydrogen)