Hydrogen-powered planes: promising test results
Recent successful test flights with hydrogen-powered planes are showing promise. The tests with retrofitted turboprops have demonstrated the potential of hydrogen fuel cell propeller planes.
One of the hydrogen-powered planes, tested by Universal Hydrogen, is a 40-passenger Dash 8. EVWind reports that the aircraft incorporates an original jet fuel engine, a 1.2 megawatt fuel cell, and an 800-kilowatt electric motor. The Dash 8 has successfully completed nine flights, reaching heights of up to 10,000 feet and speeds of over 170 knots (195 mph).Image by ZeroAvia
Another series of tests of ZeroAvia’s modified 19-seat Dornier 228, was equally successful. The prototype has performed 10 successful flights at 5,000 feet, traveling at speeds of 150 knots without any issues, on a twin-engine turboprop that utilizes both hydrogen fuel cells and batteries in addition to standard fuel systems.
Hydrogen-powered flights will likely be limited to shorter distances in the near future, the report states. But the use of hydrogen can make a significant impact on reducing airline emissions. According to a report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, even a retrofitted fuel-cell plane can generate one-third less CO2 over its lifetime compared to ‘e-kerosene’ made from water, carbon dioxide, and electricity.