Hyzon Motors Inc., a fuel cell electric mobility firm that operates a technical center in Troy, today announced its fuel cell stacks will be tested by zero-emissions aviation pioneer ZeroAvia.
ZeroAvia, which will test the system for use on its zero-emissions aircraft development program, states it selected Hyzon’s fuel cell stack due to its power density.
Hyzon’s Gen3 fuel cell stack achieves a volumetric power density above 6.0 kW/liter and gravimetric power density more than 5.5 kW/kilogram, well above industry averages, the company states.
“Hydrogen provides three times higher specific energy content compared to jet fuel, and is over 100 times higher than the best batteries today, making it the only viable option for large scale zero emission aircraft,” says Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia. “We are always interested in exploring new technologies for our powertrains, and we look forward to seeing how Hyzon fuel cell stacks perform in the demanding aviation applications.”
Hyzon states it achieves higher power density through a combination of proprietary technologies in the bipolar plate and membrane electrode assembly (MEA), the heart of the fuel cell where electrochemical reactions take place to generate power. The proprietary technology maximizes the utilization of the catalyst found in the MEA.
The fuel stack will be tested at ZeroAvia through simulated airplane duty cycles. The tests will include customary power needs such as take-off, cruising, landing, and taxiing, as well as more strenuous circumstances including rapid changes in altitude and other ambient conditions. Once the stack has been validated in a ground test program, it will be tested in flight.
“The fuel cell stack doesn’t care what it powers,” says Craig Knight, CEO of Hyzon, which has its headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. “Whether it’s in an 18-wheeler, crane, train, or airplane, the fuel cells operate very much the same way. Aviation is clearly in need of viable zero emission solutions, and hydrogen propulsion via fuel cells offers some unique characteristics to address this significant contributor to global air emissions.”
ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operations in 2024.