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Plug Power Partners with Universal Hydrogen on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Propulsion System for Regional Turboprop Aircraft

By September 23, 2020 4   min read  (745 words)

September 23, 2020 |

Plug Power Flight
  • Partnership on first-of-its-kind commercial turboprop aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells

LATHAM, N.Y.-– Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), a leading provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions enabling e-mobility, today announced a new partnership with Universal Hydrogen, an end-to-end fuel logistics company making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality.

Under this partnership, the companies plan to develop, build, and certify a commercially-viable hydrogen fuel cell-based propulsion system designed to power commercial regional aircraft. This initiative is part of Plug Power’s strategy to bring its proven hydrogen ProGen fuel cell technology to new markets through engaging leaders in industries such as commercial aviation and aerospace. This partnership also furthers Plug Power’s ambitions to build a hydrogen economy.

Bringing together Universal Hydrogen’s aerospace expertise with Plug Power’s fuel cell stack technology and systems capabilities, the partnership aims to certify and fly the world’s first 2 megawatt hydrogen-electric aircraft powertrain. The carbon-free propulsion system incorporates a lightweight Plug Power ProGen-based hydrogen fuel cell stack designed for aerospace applications and Universal Hydrogen’s modular hydrogen distribution and fuel delivery system. This technology will enable a converted mid-sized regional turboprop aircraft (such as the Dash 8 or ATR42/72 families) to fly missions up to 1,000 km. This range serves over 90 percent of existing routes, and is far longer than what would be achievable with battery power alone.

As part of this program, Universal Hydrogen and Plug Power will integrate and test a full-scale, ground-based powertrain prototype—or iron bird. After a successful ground demonstration, the teams will retrofit the powertrain into the aircraft with flight test completion and regulatory approval under a supplemental type certificate (STC) expected by 2024.

“As we enter the aerospace domain, we’re thrilled to be working with Universal Hydrogen and its proven team of experts,” says Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. “Through this partnership, we are taking our first steps toward establishing a complete ecosystem for the aviation market, from powertrain to hydrogen solutions, ultimately enabling a global transportation system powered by green hydrogen.”

“As Universal Hydrogen builds out a scalable hydrogen fuel distribution network for aviation, our partnership with Plug Power will provide a key market entry point for hydrogen-powered passenger flight,” says Paul Eremenko, CEO and Co-founder of Universal Hydrogen. “We’re excited to partner with Plug Power, a proven leader in the growing hydrogen economy as we push to make carbon-free commercial flight a near-term reality.”

This initiative comes as Plug Power is significantly growing its aerospace fuel cell system capabilities, in line with the company’s vertical integration strategy. As part of this effort, Plug Power is expanding its ProGen platform for additional aerospace applications, including UAVs and aircraft with different weight restrictions and other unique requirements.

About Plug Power

Plug Power is building the hydrogen economy as the leading provider of comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) turnkey solutions. The company’s innovative technology powers electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells amid an ongoing paradigm shift in the power, energy, and transportation industries to address climate change and energy security, while providing efficiency gains and meeting sustainability goals. Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology. As a result, the company has deployed over 35,000 fuel cell systems for e-mobility and has become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen, having built and operated a hydrogen highway across North America. Plug Power delivers a significant value proposition to end-customers, including meaningful environmental benefits, efficiency gains, fast fueling, and lower operational costs. Plug Power’s vertically-integrated GenKey solution ties together all critical elements to power, fuel, and provide service to customers such as Amazon, BMW, The Southern Company, Carrefour, and Walmart. The company is now leveraging its know-how, modular product architecture and foundational customers to rapidly expand into other key markets including zero-emission on-road vehicles, robotics, and data centers. Learn more at www.plugpower.com.

About Universal Hydrogen

Universal Hydrogen is an end-to-end fuel logistics company making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality. Founded in 2020 by green aviation veterans Paul Eremenko, John-Paul Clarke, Jason Chua, and Jon Gordon, Universal Hydrogen takes a flexible, scalable, and capital-light approach to hydrogen logistics by transporting it in modular capsules over the existing intermodal container freight network from green production sites to airports around the world. To accelerate market adoption, Universal Hydrogen is also developing a conversion kit to retrofit existing regional airplanes with a hydrogen-electric powertrain compatible with the modular capsule technology. For more information, go to hydrogen.aero.

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