The Stuttgart-based developer of hydrogen-electric propulsion systems for aircraft, H2Fly, has announced that the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen has been successfully completed.
The H2Fly team has completed four liquid hydrogen flights as part of its flight test campaign, including one that lasted more than three hours. The flights were conducted using the HY4 demonstration aircraft, which was equipped with a cryogenically stored liquid hydrogen and hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system that powers the aircraft.
The test flight results indicate that the use of liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen will double the maximum range of the HY4 aircraft from 750 km to 1,500 km, marking a crucial step towards the delivery of medium- and long-haul airliners for free.
“This success marks a milestone in the use of hydrogen to power aircraft. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated the feasibility of liquid hydrogen to support zero-emission medium- and long-haul flights,” said Professor Josef Kallo, co-founder of H2Fly.
“We now aim to expand our technology for regional aircraft and other applications, beginning the critical mission of decarbonizing commercial aviation,” he added.
The successful campaign marks an important milestone for the German company and reflects the extensive findings from the company’s research work. Additionally, it is the culmination of Project Heaven, a European government-backed consortium that has come together to demonstrate the feasibility of using cryogenic liquid hydrogen on aircraft. The consortium is led by H2Fly and includes partners Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, and Fundación Ayesa.
In addition to the HEAVEN project, the work was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), the Federal Ministry for Digitization and Transport (BMVD), and the University of Ulm.