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H2FLY and Japan Airlines announce sustainable hydrogen aviation partnership

H2FLY, hydrogen-electric powertrain developers for aircraft, has announced a partnership with Japan Airlines and JAL Engineering to research and evaluate the feasibility of hydrogen-electric aviation in Japan.

The HY4 demonstrator aircraft taking flight
The HY4 demonstrator aircraft taking flight - H2FLY

The agreement comes two months after H2FLY completed the world’s first piloted flight of liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft.

According to the partners, the initial months of collaboration will focus on a study to explore the efficacy of hydrogen-powered fixed-wing aircraft, in accordance with JAL’s commitment to reducing emissions from commercial flights.

The study aims to evaluate the powertrain requirements needed for varying distances of flights and aircraft size, as well as technical specifications according to JAL’s commercial operations. H2FLY said they will subsequently test and validate the findings of the study.

In a statement, CEO and co-founder of H2FLY, Professor Josef Kallo, said: “At H2FLY, we have dedicated the past decade to making significant advancements in the development of our hydrogen technology for aircraft. We are honoured to be collaborating with Japan Airlines who are leading the way in securing a sustainable future for the aviation industry.”

Ryo Tamura, President of JALEC, added: “We highly admire the outstanding technology of H2FLY. Through this partnership, we’re moving forward to the realisation of hydrogen-powered flight in Japan. Our collaboration lets us lead and contribute to safe and sustainable aviation in Japan.”

Stuttgart, Germany-based H2FLY, successfully completed the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen in September 2023. The series of flights were completed with H2FLY’s piloted HY4 demonstrator aircraft, fitted with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system and a liquid hydrogen tank system, doubling the maximum range of the HY4 aircraft from 750 km to 1,500 km.

The campaign was the culmination of Project HEAVEN, a European-government-supported consortium, led by H2FLY.

Read The Engineer’s coverage of the successful liquid hydrogen flight here.

H2FLY said the aim is to accelerate its technology development and commercialisation with the support of German and European partnerships, to reach the expectation that in ‘just a few years’, hydrogen-electric aircraft may be able to transport 40 passengers over distances of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles).