Consortium of companies collaborate on the creation of a Hydrogen Aviation Test and Service Centre at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington
The new centre will focus on the test flight and certification of Universal Hydrogen’s retrofit conversion of a Dash-8 regional turboprop aircraft, scheduled for entry into commercial service in 2025.
The hydrogen powertrain comprises electric propulsion units (EPUs) from Everett-based magniX and fuel cells from Plug Power. Seattle-based AeroTEC will lead aircraft conversion, flight test and certification activities, drawing on its own extensive experience with electric aviation and expertise from across the aerospace sector. The conversion work for US-based airlines, flight test, as well as continuing airworthiness support would be based in AeroTEC’s Moses Lake facility.
AeroTEC’s Moses Lake facility has long been a favoured location for electric aviation projects, having recently flown a battery-powered 9-passenger Cessna 208B “eCaravan”, also powered by a magniX EPU. Universal Hydrogen’s Dash-8 conversion will be the first commercially-relevant hydrogen-powered aircraft, serving 41 to 60 passengers on routes up to 1,000 kilometers. Hydrogen fuel for the aeroplanes will be supplied using modular capsules that can be transported to airports using the existing freight network and on-airport cargo handling equipment, requiring no new infrastructure.
“The decarbonisation of aviation through hydrogen is critical for a zero-carbon economy,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “From its days as a World War II air training centre to what it is today for alternative fuel development and flight testing, Moses Lake has led the way in aviation, energy and innovation.”