Common Hydrogen has signed letters of intent with three airways to transform greater than 15 regional airliners to run on inexperienced hydrogen. The corporate is growing conversion kits that settle for interchangeable hydrogen modules that work like recyclable espresso pods.
The plane in query will likely be De Havilland Canada DHC8-Q300, or Sprint-8. Common Hydrogen has been engaged on a Sprint-8 package for a while now, changing the usual airplane’s Pratt & Whitney turboprops and jet gas tanks with a pair of two-megawatt Magnix electrical motors, a hefty gas cell and a modular hydrogen gas system whose tanks pop out and in like nice huge seven-foot (2 m) lengthy Nespresso pods. That is a comparability the corporate appears maintain to push, as evidenced by this current Reuters interview.
The hydrogen conversion takes up some house – the Sprint-8’s cabin shrinks from 56 seats to 40 – however these planes will provide a groundbreaking emissions-free journey service as much as vary figures round 460 miles (740 km). That covers about 75 p.c of present routes flown by Sprint-8s, says Common, and so they may prolong that to 95 p.c once they get liquid hydrogen found out.
The corporate has signed letters of intent with Spain’s Air Nostrum for 11 plane, Ravn Alaska for five plane, and Icelandair Group for an unspecified “fleet” of planes. All these offers would additionally set up Common because the hydrogen pod service supplier.
No phrases for the offers have been introduced, and whereas this does seem to be excellent news for clear aviation, evtol.com has discovered some causes to pump the brakes on the hype prepare right here. LOIs are preliminary, non-binding and infrequently extremely provisional.
And one of many firms concerned, Ravn Alaska, is barely a yr out of chapter, and its new house owners have additionally signed a LOI for 50 electrical STOL plane from Airflow, and informed workers in a leaked briefing that it was additionally planning to run a low-cost provider utilizing Boeing 757s. Ambition clearly is not an issue right here, however delivering on all these plans would require monumental funds.
Nonetheless, if these plans come to fruition, and Common does handle to “deliver hydrogen-powered Sprint-8s to our skies within the subsequent a number of years,” as Icelandair President and CEO Nils Bogason hopes, it might actually seem to be an inflection level on this very thrilling new expertise, and there will definitely be passengers prepared to decide on a greener possibility.
Supply: Common Hydrogen