The FAA has accepted Universal Hydrogen’s application for a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the conversion of ATR 72 regional airliners powered by Universal Hydrogen’s liquid hydrogen modules and fuel cell-electric propulsion system.
The FAA has also issued a G-1 Issue Paper to Universal Hydrogen, which establishes the certification criteria needed to certify the ATR 72’s conversion to hydrogen power.
The regulatory approvals move forward Universal Hydrogen’s plans to put a regional passenger aircraft converted to run off liquid hydrogen fuel into service wihin the next several years.
The company flew a Dash 8 test aircraft with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell earlier this year and is conducting a ground and flight test campaign to produce all the necessary data to comply with the airworthiness and safety standards for passenger aviation.
For the test flight one of the Dash 8’s engines was replaced with a fuel cell-electric, “megawatt-class” powertrain, while the other remained a conventional engine for safety, Universal said.
Carl Burleson, an advisor to Universal Hydrogen said, “For something as novel as hydrogen-powered airplanes, establishing the certification basis is a critically important milestone in the certification process.
“This is the culmination of nearly two years of effort between Universal Hydrogen and the FAA and represents a key part of the solution set to help address the aviation industry’s commitment to a zero-carbon future.”
Universal Hydrogen is working with the FAA to finalize the full set of certification requirements in the months ahead.
Mark Cousin, president and CTO of Universal Hydrogen said, “I believe we have an important industry first here and we appreciate our responsibility to ensure that the airworthiness certification criteria that are established set a positive precedent for the rest of the nascent hydrogen aviation industry.
Thomas d’Halluin, managing partner at Airbus Ventures, an investor in Universal Hydrogen said, “Well-deserved congratulations to Universal Hydrogen on their important and closely teamed work with the FAA in achieving these core milestones, advancing practical hydrogen aviation right into present-day processes.