Joining Rob Cockerill, Global Managing Editor, and George Heynes, News Journalist at H2 View, for the Hydrogen: Aerospace & Aviation webinar was James McMicking, Vice-President Strategy at ZeroAviva; Dr. Alex Ivanenko, co-founder and CEO at HyPoint; and Simon Webb, Head of Zero-Carbon Strategy at the Aerospace Technology Institute.
Getting the ball rolling on the topic of the promise hydrogen holds in aviation was McMicking, who explained that ZeroAvia has been making progress in this space, with taking the opportunity to use existing aircrafts to showcase the possibilities of its hydrogen fuel cell systems.
“We’re building a number of demonstrator aircraft. We’ve already flown one aircraft here in the UK running on fuel cell power. We’re now moving on to our nine to 19 seat aircraft, and that’s coming up to be ready for flight tests.”
He added, “We’re not taking a traditional approach of waiting for an event aircraft to come along to use the actual technology. We’re going to retrofit those engines on existing aircraft.”
Following a study that said the aviation industry had met just one climate target out of 50, McMicking admitted, “We need to do more and go faster to tackle this really important challenge, and it won’t stop flying.
“Flying is a really important part of the way in which we connect the world, move people around, connect cultures, move goods and services. So it’s vital that it continues to be pulling all the levers.”
He admitted that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has a place as a near to medium term solution but made it clear that ZeroAvia sees the future in hydrogen.
McMicking concluded, “We’re going to need to go as hydrogen and, in our view, hydrogen and battery-powered solutions are the most scalable and most complete to tackle the challenge.”
Next up was Dr. Ivanenko from HyPoint, who discussed the challenges facing companies in the hydrogen aviation industry surrounding certification of aircraft, and that he believed it will not be long before the process is sped up.
He said, “The existing challenge for companies to operate on the market is a certification process. Because you know that there is not enough standards to support that transformation.
“I strongly believe that we just need a couple of years and we’ll will get the right certification for boundaries and aircrafts based on refusal.” He added.
Rounding off the webinar was Webb casted his view on hydrogen’s role in the sector using his experience working at the Aerospace Technology Institute, and the finding of a recent study that backed the use of hydrogen.
“We looked at the market economics, the ground-based infrastructure challenges, and we came up with a series of actual aircraft concepts to embody the technology.
“Early on, we looked at the different options, the different fuel solutions to address significant weight, class size and range of aircraft.
“We concluded that the best strategic choice for zero-carbon flight in the future ought to be liquid hydrogen”.
Despite acknowledging challenges in the move to hydrogen-powered flight, Webb seemed optimistic, saying that the UK readying to make a move.
He explained, “The development of the technology and the infrastructure and that both need to be developed and both are worthy of investment as a high priority from government and industry because of that future mass market applicability
“The fact that you are net zero CO2 using hydrogen and VHI itself is now supporting and preparing the UK to play a leading role in this in the future.”
H2 View will be back live with a hydrogen power pillar special webinar on June 10th. For more information about the event here.
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