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H2FLY, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel cell aviation, is spearheading a groundbreaking research and development initiative aimed at enhancing the power output of its hydrogen fuel cell system to accommodate larger regional aircraft.

Building on its successful completion of the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen last September, as part of the EU-funded HEAVEN research program, H2FLY is poised to further their research into sustainable aviation. The HY4 demonstrator aircraft used in the program boasted an 80kW propulsion system, setting a new benchmark in eco-friendly flight.

The next phase of H2FLY’s journey, known as BALIS 2.0, is set to be a collaborative effort with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Diehl Aerospace. With the backing of the German Government’s €9.3 million research fund, the project aims to develop and test a fuel cell system with an impressive 350kW output, specifically designed to power regional aircraft seating between 40 to 80 passengers.

Scheduled for its debut ground test at Stuttgart Airport in 2025, the enhanced fuel cell system promises to unlock unprecedented range and payload capacity for fuel cell-powered aircraft, thanks to the utilisation of liquified hydrogen. This innovative approach not only reduces tank weights and volumes but also lays the groundwork for a more sustainable future in aviation.

Under the BALIS 2.0 initiative, H2FLY will spearhead the development and implementation of the fuel cell system, while DLR engineers will focus on seamlessly integrating these systems into the electric powertrain, optimising overall system performance. Concurrently, Diehl Aerospace will continue to refine its technology for the seamless integration and scaling of fuel cell systems.

The kick-off event for the BALIS 2.0 project, held at Stuttgart Airport, marked a significant milestone in the journey towards cleaner, greener aviation. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY, emphasised the pivotal role of federal funding in advancing hydrogen fuel cell systems as a viable solution for sustainable aviation. Prof Dr André Thess of DLR echoed this sentiment, highlighting the project’s importance in driving sustainable mobility forward. Florian Maier, president and CEO of Diehl Aerospace, underscored the industry’s commitment to supporting innovative research projects for a more eco-efficient aviation landscape.

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