Plans for ‘Australia’s first’ hydrogen-powered drone revealed under new project

With the backing of a $1.3m grant from the Australian Government, the Aerostructures Innovation Research Hub (AIR Hub) in Swinburne, Victoria has announced it will develop and trial “Australia’s first” hydrogen-powered drone.

Dubbed the Hydrogen to the Skies (H22S) project, AIR plan to design and integrate a new hydrogen propulsion system into a large-scale drone, with a hope of spearheading the commercial development of zero-emission uncrewed air systems.

With a first prototype expected to be completed before the end of 2023, AIR says the project will demonstrate how hydrogen propulsion can be commercially deployed, in a bid to pave the way for regulatory and operational developments to better connect regional communities.

H2 View understands AIR will work with the Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2) on green hydrogen and storage for the H22S project.

Read more: New hydrogen station to be established in Victoria, Australia as part of wider hydrogen hub plans

Having received funding from the Australian Government’s Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships programme, Dr. Adriano Di Pietro, Director of AIR Hub said the project has the potential to lay the groundwork for millions of dollars of technology export.

Di Pietro said, “With long range, zero carbon emissions and a low noise footprint, hydrogen powered air vehicles represent the future of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible advanced air mobility.

“We are proud to be putting Australia at the cutting edge of this rapidly growing industry and improving outcomes for regional and remote communities across the country and the world.”

Prof. Karen Hapgood, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Research Professor at AIR Hub, added, “This next generation green technology will not only help decarbonise Australia’s aviation industry but will also have positive effects for our regional communities, emergency services, and advanced manufacturing sector.

“This funding will help grow Australia’s domestic clean aviation technology capabilities and ensure we can continue to create innovative technology for a better world.”

H2 View’s Hydrogen Mobility Snap Summit – November 29

With the mobility pillar consistently a hot topic for hydrogen markets and arguably the most anticipated and relatable application of the energy transition, H2 View stages a Mobility Snap Summit this November to summarise the progress made in 2022 and look ahead to what’s still to come.

Infrastructure challenges remain. Questions linger over policy and implementation. Many wonder which strand of the transport sector will blaze the trail in hydrogen power first, and likewise which region. There are clear challenges ahead, yet considerable progress made in 2022 and bright spots ahead in 2023 and beyond.

Join H2 View this November for a half-day online event dedicated to unearthing the progress made, dissecting the challenges to be met and establishing the state-of-play across mobility as 2023 approaches. Find more information here.

Premium Subscribers to H2 View have access to this event as part of their subscription package; non-subscribers can secure access to the event with a delegate ticket ($99). All delegates can access the event on-demand from 1st December.

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