Cummins Hydrogen power takes flight in world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft. For hydrogen power, the sky is no longer the limit — it’s the starting point. With new hydrogen air applications, hydrogen-powered aviation has proven is within reach and Cummins is a part of it.
The world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft, powered by Cummins fuel cells, was unveiled at the Stuttgart Airport in Germany this past December. Called the DLR-HY4, the four-seat airplane has successfully completed 30 2-hour test flights, offering a promising look at the future of lower-emission aviation.
The HY4 is a major step towards the adoption of environmentally friendly aviation because hydrogen can be sustainably made and stored using fuel cells. It’s the latest development in Cummins’ all-in commitment to creating a greener future powered by the world’s most abundant element. Adding the HY4’s success to the Cummins portfolio further demonstrates the feasibility of using hydrogen in a variety of applications.
The HY4 is powered by a Cummins fuel cell engine. The current model has a four-passenger capacity, but experts see the possibility of upscaling the aircraft to 1.5 megawatts, allowing for the transportation of up to 40 passengers for a distance of 2,000 kilometers.
Through the collaboration of world-leading science, industry and regulatory professionals, the project aims to identify the feasibility and interaction of redundant propulsion architecture with hydrogen fuel cells. The system features redundancy on hydrogen storage, the fuel cell system, energy distribution and electric motors.
Of course, great innovations like this don’t happen without teamwork. Cummins is proud to partner with numerous organizations on the H2FLY project, including Ulm University, DLR, H2FLY, Diehl Aerospace, Pipistrel, Politecnica di Milano, TU Delft and University of Maribor.
Emission-free aviation may seem too far beyond the horizon for many, but the DLR-HY4 proves that greener air travel is well within our reach. While it will take time and further innovation for hydrogen power to become widely available for aviation, the HY4’s successful test flights show promise and opportunity for hydrogen power to scale in a major way. And when that happens, Cummins will be there to power it as it takes flight.