Universal Hydrogen’s liquid hydrogen powertrain test is a success

Universal Hydrogen’s liquid hydrogen powertrain test is a success

March 1, 2024 1 By Bret Williams

The company tested out its propriety liquid H2 module.

Universal Hydrogen, the hydrogen fuel services provider, announced it has successfully powered a megawatt-class fuel cell power train using its proprietary liquid hydrogen module.

The largest fuel cell power train to run on liquid H2.

The liquid hydrogen module successfully powered Universal Hydrogen’s “iron bird” ground test rig for more than an hour and forty minutes. The recent test simulated a regional aircraft flight profile.

According to a company news release announcing the successful test, the iron bird is a functional analog of the powertrain that Universal Hydrogen has been flight testing since last March. The company’s liquid H2 module holds fuel to power the iron bird for more than three hours at full power. 

Mark Cousin, Universal Hydrogen president and CTO, said, “This is the largest fuel cell powertrain ever to run on liquid hydrogen.” Cousin added that this is another in a “series of ‘firsts’” for the company.

The liquid hydrogen module is integral to the company’s aviation offerings.

Universal hydrogen’s liquid hydrogen module is the core of its fuel services offering for aviation. The module was developed at Universal Hydrogen’s engineering and design center in Toulouse, France.  It internalizes all the intricacy of managing cryogenic H2, while at the same time externally presents a simple container interface that can work with existing intermodal freight as well as airport cargo handling equipment, according to the company.

First End-to-End Demo of Liquid Hydrogen from a Module to Power Megawatt-Class Fuel Cell Powertrain - Universal Hydrogen Co YouTube

First End-to-End Demo of Liquid Hydrogen from a Module to Power Megawatt-Class Fuel Cell Powertrain – Image Source: Universal Hydrogen Co YouTube

The module can store 200 kilograms of liquid hydrogen for long periods of time without boiloff. It is equipped with a system that can convert cryogenic liquid H2 into warm hydrogen gas that is used by the powertrain. Some of its other features include hydrogen leak detection, venting systems, and leak-proof quick-connect for easy installation and removal of the module from the aircraft.

Another significant accomplishment for Universal Hydrogen.

hydrogen news ebookThe liquid hydrogen demonstration that was carried out at the Mojave Air & Space Port, is another first for the company. It was the first time its module and powertrain have been integrated together. This is one more major accomplishment for Universal Hydrogen on its path toward entry into aircraft passenger service planned for 2026.

“This end-to-end demonstration of a hydrogen molecule moving from our filler/dispenser into our storage module and then into our powertrain is the first time that all the pieces of our product portfolio for regional aviation have come together,” said co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, Paul Eremenko. “The next step is to upgrade our flight testbed to fly the powertrain fueled by our modules.”

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