UK project aiming to deliver hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2022

UK project aiming to deliver hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2022

Six UK firms are spearheading a project to deliver what they say will be the world’s first truly green passenger carrying airline service using hydrogen fuel cell technology – and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered flying demonstrator is expected to be delivered by September 2022.

Project Fresson, led by Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), aims to use recent advances in hydrogen fuel cell technology to develop a commercially viable, retrofit powertrain solution for the nine-passenger Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

Having completed a comprehensive evaluation of technologies and configurations for sustainable aircraft propulsion, the Fresson team concluded that hydrogen fuel cell technology is the optimum solution to meet environmental, regulatory and operational requirements for this size of aircraft, enabling zero carbon emissions and reducing operating costs.

On Monday (29th March), it was announced that Ricardo UK and Innovatus Technologies had joined the Fresson consortium, which also comprises Britten-Norman, Cranfield University and the Aerospace Technology Institute.

Steve Dyke, Managing Director at Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA division, said, “Our work for the Fresson consortium will enable us to consolidate and grow our hydrogen fuel cell and propulsion capability.”

“This is so that Ricardo can achieve its ambition of becoming a world-leader in hydrogen and fuel cell services and solutions and help accelerate net zero transportation.”

Read more: Ricardo invests £2.5m in hydrogen test facility

Read more: AFC Energy, Ricardo to develop global applications for hydrogen power generation

Innovatus Technologies leads the field in next generation ultra-lightweight hydrogen tank design exploiting patented cellular core composite techniques.

This has proven critical to the successful integration and exploitation of hydrogen fuel cell power systems in applications across aerospace, automotive, industrial and marine sectors.

Ruan Swart, CEO at Innovatus Technologies, said, “Our unique and innovative SHyFT solution is gamechanging in bringing zero carbon fuel cell energy to commercial reality in the transport sector.”

“Project Fresson showcases important Scottish innovation and next generation hydrogen tank manufacturing in the UK.”

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