Universal Hydrogen, magniX, Plug Power, and AeroTEC set up hydrogen aviation center at Moses Lake, Washington
Universal Hydrogen, magniX, Plug Power and AeroTEC have established a Hydrogen Aviation Test and Service Center at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. The center will focus on the test flight and certification of Universal Hydrogen’s retrofit conversion of a Dash-8 regional turboprop aircraft, scheduled for entry into commercial service in 2025. (Earlier post.).
Early adopters of the zero-carbon emission technology include Ravn Alaska, Icelandair, and Spain’s Air Nostrum, which have entered into letters of intent with Universal Hydrogen to convert their existing and future fleets to a hydrogen powertrain, and for long-term hydrogen fuel supply contracts using Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule distribution network.
The hydrogen powertrain comprises electric propulsion units (EPUs) from Everett-based magniX and fuel cells from Plug Power, which has a significant operational footprint in Spokane, Washington. Seattle-based AeroTEC will lead aircraft conversion, flight test, and certification activities, drawing on its own extensive experience with electric aviation and expertise from across the aerospace sector.
The conversion work for US-based airlines, flight test, as well as continuing airworthiness support would be based in AeroTEC’s Moses Lake facility.
AeroTEC’s Moses Lake facility has long been a favorite location for electric aviation projects, having recently flown a battery-powered 9-passenger Cessna 208B “eCaravan,” also powered by a magniX EPU.
Universal Hydrogen’s Dash-8 conversion will be the first commercially-relevant hydrogen-powered aircraft, serving 41 to 60 passengers on routes up to 1,000 kilometers. Hydrogen fuel for the airplanes will be supplied using modular capsules that can be transported to airports using the existing freight network and on-airport cargo handling equipment, requiring no new infrastructure.
Universal Hydrogen completed its Series A investment round earlier in the year, led by prominent Silicon Valley venture fund, Playground Global, with the investor syndicate comprising Plug Power, Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Airbus Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota Ventures, and Sojitz Corporation.