MIAMI – Two German firms will put hydrogen-based fuels at the forefront of their propulsion design philosophy. The H2FLY, a German startup advancing hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircraft, and Deutsche Aircraft, the latest German aircraft manufacturer declared their partnership on July 6.

The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the research and development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology for commercial regional aircraft.

The two firms will interact to modify the Dornier 328 aircraft for hydrogen flight. In that, they hope to carry out the first flight of the demonstration aircraft in 2025. Besides, the initiative’s target is to demonstrate German leadership in this vital sector. That will come true by validating the hydrogen’s potential for advancing climate-neutral regional air transport.

According to aviator.aero, H2FLY has proven revolutionary Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology in aviation, thanks to a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center and the University of Ulm. In that, they developed the four-seater hydrogen-electric-powered HY4. Moreover, the demonstrator in many flying campaigns proved to be a success. Therefore, with its range capability, regional markets with a range of up to 750 kilometers are accessible.

They are willing to take the next step on the path to make climate-neutral regional travel a reality. Therefore, the teams intend to outfit the demonstration aircraft with a 1.5MW hydrogen system. Consequently making that the most powerful hydrogen-electric-powered aircraft to date.

The businesses will collaborate on integrating the power system into the aircraft. In addition, they have to develop the technical and certification criteria for applying fuel cell systems in large aircraft. In other words, they will amend EASA’s CS-25. Besides, the initiative will work in tandem with the German Federal Government’s Aviation Strategy.

D328eco. Image: Deutsche Aircraft

Comments from H2FLY, Deutsche Aircraft, German Aerospace


As reported by Aviator.aero, commenting on the announcement, Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO, H2FLY, said that flying provided an important opportunity for humankind, but that it came at a significant cost to the planet.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology provides an opportunity for us to completely eliminate carbon and NOx emissions from regional flights and the technology to make that happen is closer than most people think,” said Kallo.

The CEO added, “Over the last 16 years, we have worked hard to demonstrate our technology on smaller aircraft, completing [record-breaking] flights based [on] six powertrain generations. Today we’re pleased to be taking that to the next level with Deutsche Aircraft as we scale our efforts up to regional aircraft.”

On its part, Martin Nüßeler, CTO at Deutsche Aircraft, said that the company was convinced that the higher propulsive efficiency of propeller-powered aircraft would drive the change in propulsion technology, resulting in “reducing fuel consumption and emissions even further in the future. Combining modern propeller aircraft design with zero carbon energy sources is central to achieving climate-neutral air transportation.”

“We are looking forward to partner with companies that do not only share our passion for the environment but also have the technical expertise to ensure that climate-optimised aviation stays safe and reliable, we are convinced the partnership with H2FLY will move us forward on the path to applying hydrogen fuel cells in larger aircraft.”

Thomas Jarzombek, Member of the German Bundestag, Coordinator of the Federal Government for German Aerospace, remarked, “From 2035 onward hybrid-electric flying has to be the new standard in Germany. The German Government will continue to support this path to innovation with its R&D funding program aiming to let the vision of a Zero-Emission Aircraft become reality.”


Featured image: Deutsche Aircraft