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EMEC, HyFlyer, and Fuel Cell Systems Collaborate On Hydrogen Aviation

EMEC, HyFlyer, and Fuel Cell Systems Collaborate On Hydrogen Aviation

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) have awarded a contract to fuel cell technology solutions provider, Fuel Cell Systems Limited (FCSL) to supply a mobile hydrogen refuelling vehicle for the HyFlyer project. Funded by Innovate UK, the HyFlyer project aims to demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell powertrain technology for zero-emission aviation. The project will integrate a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain on board a Piper M-class six-seater aircraft and perform test flights out of Cranfield and Orkney.

The project is being led by ZeroAvia, developers of hydrogen fuel cell powertrain solutions, who are collaborating with fuel cell engineering company, Intelligent Energy, on the optimisation of its fuel cell technology for aviation use cases. The tender for the mobile refuelling unit was issued by HyFlyer project partner EMEC Hydrogen who are investigating the infrastructure required and will supply renewably produced, green hydrogen for the flight tests in Orkney. The scope of work contracted to FCSL involves the design and development of a mobile refuelling unit as a solution to supply hydrogen airside and fuel the aircraft for the test flights in Cranfield and Orkney.

FCSL designed and launched the first ever mobile hydrogen refuelling vehicle, HyTruck, back in 2016. It has since supported a range of projects, including a trial of Suzuki fuel cell powered scooters by the Metropolitan Police and the testing of the first hydrogen fuel cell train in the UK (Hydroflex). It has also been used as support for vehicle launch events and ride-and-drives. FCSL will supply a new refuelling vehicle for the HyFlyer project, based on this tried and tested design.

Tom Chicken, CTO at Fuel Cell Systems Ltd, said, “We are excited that FCSL has been chosen to provide the refuelling product for this project. Providing fuel at the correct pressure, purity, quantity and place is a vital enabler to maximise the opportunity presented by hydrogen. HyTruck delivers on all these fronts and is an important part of our spectrum of mobile refuelling products.”

Richard Ainsworth, Hydrogen Project Specialist at EMEC Hydrogen, noted, “EMEC Hydrogen are delighted to be working with FCSL in delivering a mobile refuelling truck for the HyFlyer project. With their expertise and experience in providing hydrogen refuelling solutions, HyTruck from FCSL allows us to use green hydrogen as a fuel that is compatible with the aircraft. This collaboration will see further integration of hydrogen infrastructure on Orkney and support the decarbonisation of lifeline transport services.”

EMEC Hydrogen is the arm of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) focussed on hydrogen innovation and demonstration. Using Orkney’s renewably energy to produce green hydrogen, EMEC Hydrogen is a partner in a growing number of innovative energy systems and hydrogen demonstration projects. EMEC Hydrogen is driving the development of the local hydrogen economy working alongside global stakeholders to decarbonise power, heat and transport.

Fuel Cell Systems Ltd (FCSL) is the UK’s leading fuel cell integrator, consultancy and distributor with more than a thousand fuel cells installed in a wide range of applications. The team at FCSL has been applying fuel cells to real life tasks since 2003. More recently, FCSL has developed a range of hydrogen refuelling products to help address the infrastructure gap in the UK and support individual projects. This includes HyTruck, a mobile hydrogen refuelling vehicle and HySerVe, a hydrogen “jerry can” which provides an emergency fill for stranded vehicles. HySerVe has been incorporated into the AA’s first alternative fuels prototype vehicle in the UK.