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

Universal Hydrogen Co.,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.”

Photo of Universal Hydrogen

Press release

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