Published on 07th April 2021
The UK'S Project Fresson, led by Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), intends to use recent advances in hydrogen fuel cell technology to develop a commercially viable, retrofit powertrain solution for the nine-passenger Britten-Norman Islander aircraft. The project being spearheaded by six UK firms will be the world's first truly green passenger-carrying airline service using hydrogen fuel cell technology – and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered flying demonstrator is expected to be delivered by September 2022.
After conducting an evaluation a comprehensive evaluation of technologies and configurations for sustainable aircraft propulsion, the Fresson team concluded that hydrogen fuel cell technology is the optimum solution to meet environmental, regulatory, and operational requirements for this size of aircraft, enabling zero carbon emissions and reducing operating costs.
Jenny Kavanagh, chief strategy officer at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions' said, "Project Fresson is more than just a technology demonstrator; it has one focus above all others: real operational and commercial viability."
On 29th March, an announcement was made that Ricardo UK and Innovatus Technologies had joined the Fresson consortium, which also comprises Britten-Norman, Cranfield University, and the Aerospace Technology Institute.
Innovatus Technologies leads the field in next-generation ultra-lightweight hydrogen tank design exploiting patented cellular core composite techniques, which is imperative for the successful integration and exploitation of hydrogen fuel cell power systems in applications across aerospace, automotive, industrial, and marine sectors.