Project HEAVEN, a European-government-supported consortium assembled to demonstrate the feasibility of using liquid, cryogenic hydrogen in aircraft, today announced it has successfully completed the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen. The consortium is led by H2FLY and includes the partners Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, and Fundación Ayesa.
The day consisted of four flights powered by liquid hydrogen as part of the project’s flight test campaign, including one flight that lasted for over three hours. The flights were completed with H2FLY’s piloted HY4 demonstrator aircraft, fitted with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system and cryogenically stored liquid hydrogen that powered the aircraft.
Results of the test flights indicate that using liquid hydrogen in place of gaseous hydrogen will double the maximum range of the HY4 aircraft from 750 km to 1,500 km, marking a critical step towards the delivery of emissions-free, medium- and long-haul commercial flights.
Besides project HEAVEN, the work has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMVD), and The University of Ulm. Compared with pressurized gaseous hydrogen storage (GH2), the use of liquified, cryogenic hydrogen (LH2) enables significantly lower tank weights and volume, therefore leading to increased aircraft range and useful payload. Source: ‚Pipistrel-Aircraft‚.