The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has unveiled an end-to-end hydrogen refueling solution supporting ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-powered test flight program in Cranfield.
The hydrogen refueling solution, delivered by EMEC in conjunction with subcontractor Fuel Cell Systems Limited (FCSL), is a mobile solution consisting of a re-deployable modular electrolyzer, trailer mounted air compressor and a first of its kind ADR-certified 350 bar refueling truck.
Delivery of the refueling solution is a key milestone in the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK funded HyFlyer project.
The three-part refueling system uses the electrolyzer for the on-site generation of hydrogen gas which is compressed and stored onboard the refueling truck. The hydrogen can then be used to fuel an aircraft, in this case fuelling ZeroAvia’s Piper M-Class aircraft.
Storing up to 55 kg of hydrogen, the refueling truck can support multiple daily flights within the HyFlyer test program. Having successfully gained ADR certification, a specialist test for vehicles carrying hazardous goods in bulk, the refueling truck can now legally carry hydrogen on the roads, making it the first mobile refueling solution of its kind available in Europe.
The system is currently being used by ZeroAvia at its R&D base at Cranfield Airport where it recently carried out the world’s first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial scale aircraft.
ZeroAvia is now working on the next phase of the aircraft’s technology integration and testing program using the mobile refueling solution to support a 250-300 nautical mile A – B demonstration flight, expected to be the longest hydrogen-powered flight on record.
Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting ZeroAvia’s test flight program and developing EMEC’s hydrogen capabilities. Operating as a mobile 350 bar hydrogen refueling solution, the HyFlyer truck can provide hydrogen fuelling service to locations with no existing or fixed hydrogen infrastructure which is enabling the solution to be used in an airport setting.
“We found that there was no standard for hydrogen refueling in an aviation setting so the mobile solution has been developed in accordance with the automotive J2601 hydrogen refueling standards while being bespoke to best fit the project needs.”
Tom Chicken, Chief Technical Officer at FCSL, said: “Achieving ADR certification, so that the truck can transport hydrogen legally on the roads, is a huge step forward to facilitate hydrogen-fuelled transport and is a first for Europe. We are delighted to have been involved in the HyFlyer project and look forward to continuing to provide our hydrogen refueling services to the transport sector.”
Val Miftakhov, CEO of ZeroAvia said:“ZeroAvia expects to deliver zero emissions hydrogen-electric aviation ready for passengers by 2023. We are continuing to develop and test our Piper M class model, which will be scaled up for larger aircraft and longer distance travel.
“As hydrogen-electric aircraft enter service, the hydrogen refueling solution developed within the HyFlyer project demonstrates the refueling possibilities which airports and airlines will need to consider, to accelerate their own transition to sustainable flight.”
The HyFlyer project is led by ZeroAvia with project partners the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Intelligent Energy.