This funding is expected to support the development of a test flight which will feature a UH hydrogen fuel cell powertrain implemented into a 40+ passenger regional airliner.

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With a total of $85m raised for this project, it is expected that this will considerably enhance the likelihood of testing the airliner in 2022 at Moses Lake in Washington, US.

The aviation sector could benefit hugely from hydrogen and, with the likes of Airbus and EasyJet all throwing their weight behind advancing hydrogen in aircraft, this test flight could provide a huge breakthrough internationally.

On the back of a successful test flight next year, Universal Hydrogen anticipates that the powertrain could enter into commercial service in 2025 with a certified retrofit conversion kit for existing ATR 72 and De Havilland Canada Dash-8 regional airliners.

In addition to this, the group will also look to implement green hydrogen fuel services to provide infrastructure at airports.

Peter Barrett, General Partner at Playground Global and a member of Universal Hydrogen’s Board of Directors, said, “Universal Hydrogen has attracted an incredible investor syndicate, representing key strategic and financial partners across Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia.

“This is a testament to the company’s pragmatic approach to the monumental—even existential—challenge of our generation and the world-class team that Universal Hydrogen has catalysed around it.”

Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, said, “While regional aviation represents a sizable market opportunity and an important early proof point in the fight against climate change, it is a small fraction of total aviation emissions.

“If we want to decarbonise the industry on the timeframe of the Paris Agreement, the world’s narrowbody airliner fleet has to become hydrogen-powered starting in the 2030s. There is no known alternative technology to get there.”

A seismic shift for aviation: Airbus sets its sights on hydrogen powering the future of aircraft

Representing approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the aviation industry is in need of a disruptive change to its ‘business as usual’ if it is to meet its net zero objectives by 2050. One energy carrier emerging as a game-changing contender in the transformation of the sector is hydrogen, and Airbus is ready to be the catalyst for change.

With a 50-year track record of innovation, technological firsts and industry milestones, the designer and manufacturer of aerospace products, services and solutions to a customer base worldwide has indeed been ‘making it fly’ since the 1960s.In 1972, Airbus’ first aircraft, and the world’s first wide-body twin-aisle commercial aircraft, the A300B, performed its maiden flight, which at the time signalled the first steps towards changing the face of modern aviation. And Airbus is once again set to transform flight.

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