Hydrogen-Electric Aircraft Gearing Up for Regional Flights in the Next Years

Developing new electric or hybrid vehicles from scratch is costly and time-consuming, so conversion is seen as a faster way to achieve sustainable transportation in some sectors, such as aviation and rail. The first aircraft of this kind to start operating are expected to be regional airplanes.
Dante offers full conversion services for hybrid-electric aircraft 8 photos
Photo: Dante Aeronautical
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Two companies have joined forces to integrate electric propulsion systems and hydrogen fuel cells on existing turboprop aircraft, in order to accelerate green regional flights. One of them is Monte, a clean technology company, and the other one is Dante Aeronautical, which specializes in sustainable aviation alternatives, including hydrogen-powered concepts, and aircraft conversions.

Together, Monte and Dante will support aircraft operators that want to retrofit their fleets, by offering not just conversion packages, but also financing options. This innovative project is set to kick off in 2024, with the conversion of Cessna Caravan aircraft – Monte believes that regional turboprop airplanes are the best options for launching these services.

At the moment, the hybrid technology is being tested on a Cessna Caravan belonging to Sydney Seaplanes, one of Dante’s partners. If things go right, a fully certified electric Cessna will enter service by 2024.

Operating a hybrid airplane also means having access to electric charging units, and storage solutions for batteries and the hydrogen fuel cells. This is why future operators who will join the program will also receive financial support for all of these infrastructure requirements.

The Cessna Caravans will be equipped with electric motors, a battery module for a power boost during take-off and climbing, plus a hydrogen storage system. Hydrogen will be stored in a gaseous form in high-pressure (700 bars) tanks, which won’t exceed 8% of the system’s total weight. Like any other hydrogen-powered vehicle, the aircraft will also be fitted with a cooling system, and the excess heat will be eliminated through a radiator or heat exchanger.

Dante has also developed a hydrogen-electric 19-passenger commuter concept, but its conversion services are a faster way of getting clean energy aircraft up and running.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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