First glimpse at a hydrogen-powered helicopter
© Hypoint

First glimpse at a hydrogen-powered helicopter

HyPoint and Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC) on Tuesday (August 24) shared the first glimpse of what their hydrogen-powered helicopter could look like – and the two firms say it could be in the skies by 2025.

In what the two companies are calling the world’s first manned helicopter, the duo will utilise Hypoint’s existing technology to develop five 650kW hydrogen fuel cell systems that will boast twice the specific power of existing hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Powering a Piasecki eVTOL PA-890 Compound Helicopter, the systems will also offer electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) manufacturers four times the energy density of existing lithium-ion batteries and a 50% reduction in direct operating costs relative to turbine-powered rotorcraft.

Once developed, Piasecki will gain exclusive license to the technology created as part of the partnership and HyPoint will maintain ownership of its underlying hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Dr. Alex Ivanenko, founder and CEO of HyPoint, said, “The much-anticipated arrival of eVTOLs and similar aircraft has been severely hindered by the technical limitations of existing power systems.

“This new strategic partnership will dramatically accelerate delivery timelines by equipping eVTOL manufacturers with next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems that meet their unique needs.

“Together, HyPoint and Piasecki will work to grow the emerging eVTOL market by delivering a certified multiplatform solution for eVTOL makers. In addition, we share a common vision for making safe, cost-effective zero carbon-emission flight a reality for conscientious businesses and consumers around the world.”

Both parties have already said they intend to make the system available to eVTOL makers by customising it for use as part of a newly inked $6.5m agreement. Hypoint and Piasecki have also said they will be able to develop new systems based on customer needs.

John Piasecki, President and CEO of Piasecki, added, “We are laser-focused on the development and qualification of a 650kW system for our PA-890 eVTOL Compound Helicopter, which would be the world’s first manned hydrogen-powered helicopter.

“Success will pave the way for collaboration with other eVTOL OEMs with different platform sizes to ensure broad application of this technology. Initial lab testing funded by Piasecki last winter demonstrated the technical viability of HyPoint’s hydrogen fuel cell system.

“While we are benchmarking HyPoint’s technology against alternatives and continue to rigorously test and validate findings, we are very optimistic. Our objective is to develop full-scale systems within two years to support on-aircraft certification testing in 2024 and fulfil existing customer orders for up to 325 units starting in 2025.”

‘We have pre-orders in the eight-figure range’: HyPoint’s revolutionary hydrogen aviation technology is flying out the door

© HyPoint

Within a few years, Dr. Alex Ivanenko is convinced hydrogen-powered aircraft will be in operation for regional short-haul flights and by the end of decade, he is confident we will see larger hydrogen-fuelled passenger planes and air taxis operating longer-haul flights.

“The hydrogen future is just around the corner,” the founder and CEO of HyPoint enthuses to H2 View. Indeed, Ivanenko has a lot to be excited about when it comes to the hydrogen aviation market.

HyPoint last week unveiled revolutionary hydrogen technology for aviation and urban air mobility, which the Californian fuel cell specialist is expecting to start shipping in 2022.

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