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Sun, Oct 24, 2021

Plug Power Invests in Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Airflow’s 9-Passenger Hauler to Come? 

Airflow, an AAM company working on their 4 and 9-passenger electric STOL aircraft, has announced a new investment from Plug Power Inc..

Known for their hydrogen engines and mobility fueling systems, Plug will help in the development and certification of a hydrogen fuel cell for short haul regional aircraft. Their new agreement with Airflow is hoped to bring their ProGen hydrogen cells to a wider market of vehicles, later branching to a wide spectrum of missions and aircraft types in the aviation industry.

Airflow has had a run of good luck, recently securing more than $600 million in LOI's from eleven airlines operating sub-regional aircraft. Hoping to grab market share from other short-haul aircraft by offering fleet replacements, Airflow is working on a few options to best meet the propulsion needs of airline customers hungry for carbon-neutral, "green" aircraft to boost their ESG scores. The use of hydrogen as a fuel source has already begun, under the Plug umbrella, with some test airports already using the cells to power ground support equipment. The partnership is hoped to expand these facilities throughout the airport ecosystem, possibly through a combination of Plug’s hydrogen provisions, and Airlow’s battery and SAF locations. 

Beginning their program with a full-scale ground-based powertrain prototype, the companies will move on to aircraft fitment once bench testing proves successful. The Hydrogen fuel cell tech will be a parallel development on their battery and SAF-powered aircraft models, allowing Airflow customers to select the systems most suited to their needs. Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh believes hydrogen is a great match for aviation. “Airflow represents another vital leg of the stool in our aerospace strategy. In order to establish a complete ecosystem for the aviation market and enable a global transportation system powered by green hydrogen, it’s essential that we work with players across aircraft classes who deeply understand the unique applicability of hydrogen in an industry as weight-sensitive as aviation. We see the development and certification of a system for Airflow’s Part 23 aircraft as an ideal entry point into the aerospace market that enables expansion into larger aircraft programs.”

Marc Ausman, CEO of Airflow says his company can’t wait to start work. “We’re thrilled to have an industry leader in the hydrogen economy supporting our ambitious objectives. We see hydrogen fuel cell technology as a key thrust of our next generation power systems, which along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel-based hybrid systems and advanced battery systems, allow us to provide flexibility to our customers to deliver an aircraft that best meets their individual mission needs and sustainability goals.” 



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