LATHAM — Plug Power Inc, a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions for the global green hydrogen economy, today announced the historic flight of a regional airliner powered by the company’s line of ProGen fuel cells.
Led by Universal Hydrogen, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered flying testbed took off at 8:30 a.m. for 15 minutes at Grant County International Airport in Washington state. Reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet MSL, the flight marked a significant milestone for both companies that partnered to make hydrogen-powered aviation a reality.
The 40-passenger airplane’s powertrain is built with Plug’s ProGen that have been adapted for aviation use. Plug’s ProGen fuel cells support light, medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles in asset-intensive applications. They have proven to be ideal because they allow fleets to achieve greater range. Fuel cells are also free of carbon emissions, and weigh and cost less than batteries.
“Plug is proud to be a part of Universal Hydrogen’s significant day in aviation history,” Plug CEO Andy Marsh said. “We’ve long said hydrogen can power applications, such as planes, while reducing toxic carbon emissions. Today, we proved it, and we’re one step closer to a more sustainable future.”
The celebrated day stems from Plug’s long-time partnership with Universal Hydrogen that expanded in 2021 to begin the development of fuel cells made for regional aircraft. The partnership is one of many strategic investments Plug has made in recent years to grow the green hydrogen economy and expand its applications, including into aviation.
“Our business model resolves the chicken-and-egg problem between hydrogen airplanes and hydrogen infrastructure by developing both in parallel and with a uniquely low-cost approach,” said Paul Eremenko, Universal Hydrogen co-founder and CEO. “The airplanes are converted to hydrogen using an aftermarket retrofit conversion kit, tackling the existing fleet rather than developing a brand new airplane. And hydrogen fueling uses modular capsules compatible with existing freight networks and airport cargo handling equipment, making every airport in the world hydrogen-ready.”
Conducted under an FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate, the flight was the first in a two-year flight test campaign expected to culminate in 2025 with entry into passenger service of ATR 72 regional aircraft in a 56-passenger configuration converted to run on hydrogen.
Plug is building an end-to-end green hydrogen ecosystem, from production, storage and delivery to energy generation, to help its customers meet their business goals and decarbonize the economy. In creating the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology, the company has deployed more than 50,000 fuel cell systems and over 165 fueling stations, more than anyone else in the world, and is the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen. With plans to build and operate a green hydrogen highway across North America and Europe, Plug is building a state-of-the-art Gigafactory to produce electrolyzers and fuel cells and multiple green hydrogen production plants that will yield 500 tons of liquid green hydrogen daily by 2025. Plug will deliver its green hydrogen solutions directly to its customers and through joint venture partners into multiple environments, including material handling, e-mobility, power generation, and industrial applications. For more information, visit www.plugpower.com.