Universal Hydrogen could be first with Hydrogen Airliner

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By Scott Hamilton and Bjorn Fehrm

Dec. 15, 2022, © Leeham News: Universal Hydrogen (UH2) is perhaps weeks away from its first flight of a demonstrator that equips a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300 with tanks of hydrogen and a fuel cell electric propulsion unit. The project shall prove the feasibility of hydrogen-fueled airliners.

The first flight's date hasn't been firmly set, but officials at UH2 told LNA it should be soon. Taxi tests of the aircraft will begin in the coming weeks. The flight will occur at Moses Lake in Central Washington State.

Universal Hydrogen supplies its hydrogen to the aircraft in prefilled barrel-sized tanks, called capsules, to avoid the lengthy and costly investment in storing and filling infrastructure at airports. The proof of concept is with a Dash 8, followed by a complete hydrogen conversion kit for an ATR-72 turboprop airliner.

Figure 1. Hydrogen tank pallets are loaded onto an ATR 72 by standard cargo loaders. Source: Universal Hydrogen.

  • The core business of Universal Hydrogen is the prefilled hydrogen tanks that load onto the aircraft in pallets.
  • Universal Hydrogen builds the complete hydrogen fuel and propulsion system to prove and bootstrap the concept of hydrogen airliners.

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