Hypoint opens UK hydrogen cell development unit to power eVTOL and other aircraft

Hypoint hydrogen cell eVTOL

Silicon Valley hydrogen fuel cell innovator Hypoint has inaugurated a new UK unit intended to speed development of its air-cooled aviation power technology, and ready it to supply zero-carbon power to next-generation aircraft like electric takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL) as they prepare to launch services.

This week the company cut the ribbon on the new UK unit located in Sandwich, Kent, a couple hours southeast of London. Situated in the town’s Discovery Park innovation and research complex, the new division will receive about $15 million in funding, and hire a team of up to 100 people. The objective is to accelerate development of  HyPoint’s award-winning hydrogen fuel cells tailored for uses in aerospace, aviation, and emerging aircraft like eVTOLs. By 2025, the firm believes it will have as much as 100MW of onsite plant capacity to produce the emissions-free power.

HyPoint’s tech uses compressed air for both cooling and oxygen supplies delivered to its fuel systems, which are lighter, less polluting, have longer lifespans, and enable seven times more flight capacity than lithium-ion and other chemical batteries. Those attributes are luring developers of existing, new drone, and eVTOL craft to give emerging hydrogen cell products serious consideration as drivers of their vehicles – especially as the world seeks to reduce its carbon output. In 2018, aviation sector’s share of global CO2 emissions was 2.5%.

A winner if NASA’s 2020 iTech Initiative award, Hypoint’s ground-breaking air-cooling system and specialized high-temperature membranes helped reduce the platform’s weight by 60% compared to rivals. The company says the current version of the tech delivering 2,000 W/kg of specific power already triples that of competing hydrogen cell options. By 2025, it predicts, development will increase that jolt to 3,000 W/kg of specific power – enough, Hypoint says, to satisfy the requirements of narrow-body aircraft. 

In addition to emerging vehicles like eVTOL craft and longer-flying enterprise drones, Hypoint’s hydrogen fuel system is generating interest from larger craft makers. Last year it struck a partnership with Piasecki Aircraft to develop cells for its PA-890 helicopters slated to hit the market in 2025. It is also supporting ZeroAvia’s development of its hybrid hydrogen-electric passenger plane, and has feasibility contacts with Airbus.

Hypoint founder and chief executive Alex Ivanenko believes the launch of the UK unit will provide power of its own to the company’s hydrogen fuel development drive, and make its tech the clean aviation model of the future.

“With its massive technical and academic talent pool, a globally recognised ecosystem of hydrogen manufacturers, and strong transport decarbonisation targets, the UK is well-positioned to become a global leader in the hydrogen economy,” said Ivanenko. “This location will enable us to accelerate the development and delivery of our hydrogen fuel cell technology to aviation and aeronautical companies in the UK and around the world. Our work is critical to unlocking faster decarbonization of aviation and urban air mobility.”

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