Deutsche Aircraft, the new purpose-driven German aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (earlier post), and Universal Hydrogen Co. (earlier post) announced a technical collaboration to complete a design study to incorporate Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule technology into the Dornier 328 program.
The joint effort will analyze the size and integration of the modular capsule technology for hydrogen storage into the aircraft structure and systems (including loading and unloading considerations); aircraft weight and balance; hydrogen cost (infrastructure and fuel); mission performance; and the hydrogen logistics network design.
In addition, both Universal Hydrogen and Deutsche Aircraft will work closely with regional and federal German government and European Union entities regarding the development, production, and implementation of the study and project.
The Dornier 328 is a turboprop-powered commuter airliner. Deutsche Aircraft is working on introducing advanced flight deck capabilities, SAF compatible airframe, and more efficient engines into what it is calling the D328eco.
The D328eco Flight Deck is designed for future single pilot operation, with latest generation avionics suite. This will enable greater operational efficiency and ensuring full compliance with all known future CNS/ATM regulations.
The D328eco is nearly 2 meters longer than the original D328 airframe to provide additional seating capacity and enhance the proven multi-role capability of the aircraft. Seating 40 passengers as a standard configuration.
The D328eco features the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW127S engine, more efficient and will allow better performance increased SHP (shaft horsepower) to support the increased MTOW (maximum takeoff weight). The maintenance service goal will improve while the operating cost is reduced.
Optimized for higher propulsive efficiency and low noise, the propellors will work together with the engine to ensure the D328eco remains one of the most economical turboprops within the regional and special mission markets.
Earlier this month, Deutsche Aircraft announced a Memorandum of Understanding with H2Fly to work together on the research and development of hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial regional aircraft. (Earlier post.) The partnership will see the two companies convert the Dornier 328 aircraft for hydrogen flight, with the demonstrator aircraft expected to take to the skies in 2025.
Universal Hydrogen is building a fuel distribution network that connects hydrogen production directly to the airplane using modular capsules that are transported using the existing freight network, avoiding the need for costly new pipelines, storage facilities, and fuel trucks.