UH Successfully Powers Megawatt-Class Fuel Cell Powertrain Using Company’s Proprietary Liquid Hydrogen Module

Feb 27, 2024

Universal Hydrogen Successfully Powers Megawatt-Class Fuel Cell Powertrain Using Company’s Proprietary Liquid Hydrogen Module

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MOJAVE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Universal Hydrogen Co. today announced it has successfully run a megawatt-class fuel cell powertrain using its proprietary liquid hydrogen module to supply the fuel. “This is the largest fuel cell powertrain ever to run on liquid hydrogen,” said Mark Cousin, the company’s president & CTO, “making it another in a series of ‘firsts’ for Universal Hydrogen.” The liquid hydrogen module powered the company’s “iron bird” ground test rig for over 1 hour and 40 minutes, simulating a regional aircraft flight profile. The iron bird is a functional analogue of the powertrain that Universal Hydrogen has been flight testing since March 2023. The company’s liquid hydrogen module holds fuel to power the iron bird for over three hours at full power, with two such modules sufficient for 500 nautical miles of usable range (on top of reserves) for an ATR72 regional airliner. This demonstration, conducted at the Mojave Air & Space Port, is the first time the company’s module and powertrain have been integrated together, marking another significant accomplishment on the path toward entry into passenger service planned for 2026.

Developed at Universal Hydrogen’s engineering and design center in Toulouse, France, the liquid hydrogen module is the core of the company’s fuel services offering for aviation. It internalizes all the complexity of managing cryogenic hydrogen, while externally presenting a simple container interface compatible with existing intermodal freight and airport cargo handling equipment. The module contains ~200 kilograms of liquid hydrogen and is capable of storing it for long durations without boiloff. The module contains systems to convert cryogenic liquid hydrogen into warm gaseous hydrogen that is consumed by the powertrain. It also incorporates features such as hydrogen leak detection and venting systems for safe operations, as well as a leak-proof quick-connect for easy installation and removal of the module from the aircraft.

“This end-to-end demonstration of a hydrogen molecule moving from our filler/dispenser into our storage module and then into our powertrain is the first time that all the pieces of our product portfolio for regional aviation have come together,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “The next step is to upgrade our flight testbed to fly the powertrain fueled by our modules.”

Today’s demonstration comes on the heels of Universal Hydrogen’s demo in recent weeks of another use case for its modular fueling technology, a hydrogen-powered charger for airport ground support equipment. The company also recently announced the hire of Stasy Pasterick as Chief Financial Officer.

About Universal Hydrogen

Universal Hydrogen is a hydrogen fuel services provider that uses unique liquid and gaseous hydrogen module technology. The company takes a flexible, scalable, and capital-light approach to hydrogen logistics by transporting it in modular capsules over the existing freight network from green production sites directly to point of consumption, anywhere in the world. The company is targeting regional and narrowbody/single aisle airplanes as the most impactful decarbonization opportunities, while seeking other early applications that can make a difference. Universal Hydrogen is also working to certify a powertrain conversion kit to retrofit existing regional aircraft to fly on hydrogen.


Kate Gundry

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