Universal Hydrogen Uses Liquid Hydrogen to Run MW-Class Fuel Cell Powertrain

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The company’s liquid hydrogen module powered a MW-class fuel cell powertrain installed on the “Iron Bird” ground test rig for a regional aircraft flight simulation.

Universal Hydrogen announced the successful test operation of a MW-class fuel cell powertrain using its proprietary liquid hydrogen module for fuel supply. The module powered the company’s “Iron Bird” ground test rig for more than 1 hour and 40 minutes during a regional aircraft flight simulation profile. Iron Bird is a functional analogue of the powertrain that Universal Hydrogen has been testing since March 2023.

The liquid hydrogen module holds fuel to power the test rig for more than 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 was conducted at the Mojave Air & Space Port and the module and powertrain are scheduled for entry into passenger service in 2026.


“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.”

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 for aviation. It manages cryogenic hydrogen and has a simple container interface compatible with current intermodal freight and airport cargo handling equipment. The module contains approximately 200 kg of liquid hydrogen and can store it for long durations without boiloff.

In addition to these features, the module contains systems to convert cryogenic liquid hydrogen into warm, gaseous hydrogen that is consumed by the powertrain. It incorporates features such as hydrogen leak detection and venting systems for safe operations, as well as a leak-proof quick-connect for installation and removal of the module from the aircraft.