The airline operator plans to leverage on Universal Hydrogen’s fuel distribution network, using modular hydrogen capsules which are hoped to eliminate the need for new fuelling infrastructure at airports.

Deliveries for regional aircraft are expected to commence in 2025, with plans to expand its services to larger aircrafts, initially for auxiliary power in the late 2020s, before being used for primary fuel by the mid 2030s.

Following on from its investment in hydrogen-electric aviation pioneer, ZeroAvia in August (2022), American Airlines say its backing of Universal Hydrogen makes it the first US airline to make two direct investments focused on the development of both hydrogen-powered propulsion technology, and the future of hydrogen distribution logistics.

Read more: ZeroAvia receives investment from American Airlines

Derek Kerr, Chief Financial Officer of American Airlines, said, “This technology has the potential to be a game-changer on the industry’s path to zero-emission flight. As the world’s largest airline, American has a responsibility to exercise leadership in making aviation sustainable.

“Our investment in Universal Hydrogen represents a vote of confidence for green hydrogen as a key element of a sustainable future for our industry.”

In September 2021, Universal Hydrogen announced its new engineering and design centre in France would focus on modular hydrogen storage and logistics systems, as well as conversion kits for retrofitting aircraft with hydrogen to support the development of hydrogen-powered aviation.

Read more: Universal Hydrogen’s new engineering and design centre to support hydrogen in the aviation sector

Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, added, “Together with our investors, we are putting together the end-to-end value chain to make hydrogen aviation a near-term commercial reality.

“This move by American is a strong signal that customers want a true zero-emissions solution for passenger aviation and are willing to back tangible, pragmatic steps to get there quickly.”

H2 View’s Hydrogen Mobility Snap Summit – November 29

With the mobility pillar consistently a hot topic for hydrogen markets and arguably the most anticipated and relatable application of the energy transition, H2 View stages a Mobility Snap Summit this November to summarise the progress made in 2022 and look ahead to what’s still to come.

Infrastructure challenges remain. Questions linger over policy and implementation. Many wonder which strand of the transport sector will blaze the trail in hydrogen power first, and likewise which region. There are clear challenges ahead, yet considerable progress made in 2022 and bright spots ahead in 2023 and beyond.

Join H2 View this November for a half-day online event dedicated to unearthing the progress made, dissecting the challenges to be met and establishing the state-of-play across mobility as 2023 approaches. Find more information here.

Premium Subscribers to H2 View have access to this event as part of their subscription package; non-subscribers can secure access to the event with a delegate ticket ($99). All delegates can access the event on-demand from 1st December.