H2FLY, the Stuttgart-based developer of hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircraft, announced on 5 April that it had passed a key milestone in its effort to demonstrate the feasibility of liquid, cryogenic hydrogen-powered fuel cell powertrain for aircrafts: it successfully passed the on-ground filling tests with the newly developed liquid hydrogen tank integrated into its HY4 aircraft.
The tests, which took place in preparation for the coupling tests to form a complete hydrogen-electric powertrain, were carried out on Air Liquide’s Campus Technologies Grenoble, in Sassenage, France. Air Liquide designed and supplied the hydrogen storage system based on H2FLY’s requirements, and H2FLY led the test campaign together with Air Liquide.
By achieving this milestone, the consortium has further cemented its reputation for leading the way in liquid hydrogen refuelling operations and handling liquid hydrogen on board an aircraft.
The tests come on the heels of H2FLY’s announcement in November 2022 that it had started the mechanical integration of Air Liquide’s liquid hydrogen tank into H2FLY’s fuel cell-powered aircraft HY4, following the successful completion of vibration and LH2 leakage tests in September 2022.
Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY expressed his optimism about this breakthrough and its potential for revolutionizing the aerospace industry. “The successful on-ground filling tests today mark the next milestone in our pursuit to doubling the range of our HY4 aircraft. It is a critical step for our upcoming flight test campaign this summer, which will demonstrate the feasibility of liquid hydrogen as a fuel for medium and long-haul flight.”
H2FLY has already made several breakthroughs over the last few years.
In 2020, it was granted a permit to fly the latest generation of the HY4 aircraft with a fully redundant powertrain architecture, and the aircraft made more than 100 successful take-offs. Then in 2021, H2FLY signed a strategic partnership with aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft to fly a CS25 class aircraft powered by its hydrogen fuel cell technology, and this climate-neutral regional aircraft demonstrator is expected to take flight in 2025. Last year, the company also made history by completing a cross-country flight from Stuttgart to Friedrichshafen, covering 77 miles, and setting what is believed to be a world altitude record for a hydrogen aircraft, flying at 7,230 feet.
This marks a huge success for H2FLY and its relentless dedication to exploring hydrogen-electric propulsion solutions for aviation.