New consortium plans Holland to UK hydrogen passenger flights by 2028

A consortium of 17 Dutch companies and organisations is committed to flying to London using hydrogen-powered medium-sized passenger aircraft from 2028. 

The Netherlands national government has also committed 100 million euros towards the project.

The consortium, which includes Fokker and TU Delft, is convinced that it will be able to make commercially profitable flights between Rotterdam and London, for example, possible from 2028 for planes carrying 40 to 80 passengers. 

It will do so by converting existing medium-sized propeller planes. Instead of storing fuel in the wings, the Hydrogen Aircraft Powertrain and Storage System (HAPSS) has a hydrogen tank in the aircraft’s tail. 

The hydrogen is transported to the engine and converted into electricity, which drives the propellers.

“We take out the engine and build a new system in it, after which it flies on nitrogen,” entrepreneur Michel van Ierland, who has helped bring the consortium together over the past two years, commented. 

He added that there are currently about 1,500 aircraft flying around the world that are suitable for the package.

The consortium estimates that flying on hydrogen will make tickets up to 10 percent more expensive, but it expects consumers will be willing to pay that if their flight is really green. 

The latest commercial move follows a partnership established last year a partnership involving aviation specialist ZeroAvia, the Royal Schiphol Group, and Rotterdam The Hague Airport, which is also developing a hybrid hydrogen-electric commercial air service which it has said could start between London and Rotterdam as early as 2024.

ZeroAvia is already working to develop a 600-kW hydrogen-fuel-cell-based powertrain that could apply to multiple 19-seater aircraft.

ZeroAvia recently established a company in the Netherlands it says will support its efforts to develop commercial applications for its propulsion technology in the country and throughout the 27 European Union (EU) member states.


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