Hydrogenics Corporation has joined with a consortium of companies to develop the world’s first zero-emission four-seater passenger plane.

The announcement was made at the International Trade Fair World of Energy Solutions in Stuttgart, Germany.

Hydrogenics joins with partners; the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, the University of Ulm, aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel, and the airport of Stuttgart in the consortium named H2FLY. The consortium’s vision is the advancement of emission-free electrified flight with hydrogen. The aircraft, named HY4, will make its maiden flights from its home base at the Stuttgart Airport in the summer of 2016.

Emission-free, faster, higher and further

“With the HY4 we want to bring electric mobility to the air, demonstrating the feasibility of this technology and identify specific fields of application in passenger transport,” explained Professor Josef Kallo, Electric Fly Coordinator for DLR.

The HY4 electric motor has an output of 80KW, a top speed of around 200km/h and a cruising speed of 145km/h.

Depending on speed, altitude and load a range, 750 to 1500 kilometers are possible. The striking feature of HY4 is its two hulls, which are connected to each other very firmly on the wings.

This twin-hull design allows optimum distribution of drive components and a higher overall payload. In each of the two hulls two passengers have space.

The maximum weight of the HY4 is 1500kg. The main energy source is a low-temperature PEM fuel cell from Hydrogenics. This converts hydrogen and air into water and electrical energy. In cruise flight, the fuel cell supplies the electric motor reliably with electricity.

“We are very pleased to be part of this consortium. Hydrogenics has a history of supporting and partnering on aviation projects in Europe. From the power system for an A320 nose wheel electric drive in 2010 to the 2012 hydrogen propulsion system we provided DLR for their Antares H2 single seater plane, Hydrogenics is a proud supporter of bringing the benefits of it’s technology to the air. With the HY4, a small passenger plane, we will achieve an important milestone for Hydrogenics and for general aviation,” said Daryl Wilson, CEO of Hydrogenics.