Special Report: Aviation H2’s goal of becoming Australia’s first hydrogen-fuelled aviation company is coming into fruition, with the construction of its first modification prototype expected to begin soon.
The company told Stockhead that it has successfully completed the research stage and will soon start modifying turbofan engines to test and prove the concept. Following this, they will start constructing Australia’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft, which they expect to have in the skies midway through 2023.
Over the past several months, Aviation H2 has been analysing various avenues to powering the plane, including the use of ammonia instead of jet fuel, pure hydrogen, co-firing and the use of electric motors.
“We are extremely excited to have completed the research phase and to be moving onto constructing the first prototype,” says Aviation H2 Director, Dr Helmut Mayer. “The results from our analysis have been very positive. We now have a pathway outlined towards building a hydrogen-fuelled plane that will be both efficient and commercially viable.”
One of the most important elements of their strategy is developing a state-of-the-art method for converting existing aircraft into a hydrogen-fuelled engine with the majority of the base certification retained.
“It is critical we use existing, certified, technology wherever we can. We will start with an operational aircraft and retain as much of the base certification as possible.”
“Making use of current technologies and infrastructure will also be important to our future customers because it allows them to modify the aircraft they have already invested in, rather than buy a whole new fleet.”
Following a successful research phase, the company says they will launch its second round of seed level funding in the coming weeks to finance the next stages of building Australia’s first hydrogen-powered plane.
Hydrogen coming to the forefront
With the ongoing energy crisis that has seen oil prices spike, which has also seen the price of jet fuel soar in tandem, the search for an alternative has become even more urgent.
Green hydrogen – and potentially ammonia produced from said hydrogen – provides the strongest alternative given its energy density and ease of refuelling.
This is especially so for long-range flights where the weight of batteries makes them unfeasible.
Indeed, Allied Market Research has projected that the global hydrogen aircraft industry would hit a value of almost US$28b in 2030 and US$174b by 2040.