VFS Hydrogen Initiatives

Get Involved! 

Following up on the successful programs on hydrogen for aviation developed by the VFS hydrogen-electric VTOL (H2eVTOL) Council in 2020-2021, VFS has expanded its efforts to understand the promise, progress and barriers of implementing hydrogen fuel cells for eVTOL and other types of aircraft.

Just announced: The 2nd Annual H2-Aero Symposium, March 28–30, 2023, in Long Beach, California. Save the date!

VFS has two monthly working groups:

  • The H2-Aero Team, founded in January 2022, meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 12:00 pm ET / 9:00 am PT. This group is developing a white paper for a possible project to demonstrate a hydrogen hub (see below). Join the mailing list!
  • The H2eVTOL Council, originally fouded in May 2020, has been been spun off and is now run by the non-profit HYSKY Society. It meets on the 3rd Monday of each month at 11:30 am ET / 8:30 am PT (but is taking a break until early 2023). This group has educational seminars to understand the full range of the hydrogen aviation ecosystem. Join the mailing list!

Plug Power Tim Cortes video thumbnail (jpg)In March 2022, VFS held the first conference in North America on hydrogen for aviation. The 1st H2-Aero Symposium & Workshop was a great success! Video recordings of the event are available at no charge to all members and attendees, and presentation slides are available for purchase. You can also read the comprehensive symposium summary article in the May/June 2022 issue of Vertiflite: H2-Aero: Leading the Way to Carbon-Free Aviation (pdf)

Not a member? Join today! Check out this sample video recording from the H2-Aero Workshop posted on the VFS YouTube Channel: Tim Cortes, CTO of Plug Power (24 minutes)

VFS has expanded its purview beyond just eVTOL to include all advanced air mobility (AAM) applications, including hydrogen-electric conventional and short takeoff and landing (eCTOL and eSTOL) aircraft. Read our latest Commentary: An Expanded View of Electric Flight, published in Vertiflite, May/June 2022.

Background

There are challenges decarbonizing the aerospace industry, especially due to lightweighting and powertrain needs. Larger, heavier eVTOL aircraft that require more power for sustained flight need fuel cells with hydrogen combined with batteries to achieve zero-emission, all-electric, long-range flights.

Despite the clear advantages of utilizing hydrogen, it still hasn’t been adopted in aviation at large in North America. Both gaseous and liquid hydrogen are standardized, but not yet at scale or developed for use for aircraft. Other impediments such as the lack of infrastructure, transporting hydrogen and high costs due to the prototype nature of the industry today.

The H2-Aero initiative is seeking to think ‘outside the box’ as it’s certainly possible to bring hydrogen at scale, especially in conjunction with other forms of transportation such as airport ground equipment.

Although multiple hydrogen consortia and government bodies have published roadmaps, and the UK and EU have made great strides in this area, there is little traction for hydrogen aviation in the US. The H2-Aero Team is engaging with the government, industry and academic organizations to bring H2 for eVTOL, eSTOL and eCTOL to the forefront — because aviation is one of the most challenging transportation industries to decarbonize and stands to benefit the most from hydrogen. Though the original "VFS H2eVTOL Council" was primarily focused on vertical flight, VFS and its partners have now embarked on a new mission to widen the scope towards finding a common hydrogen technology for aircraft and airports. There is also a vision to help launch a Public-Private Partnership related towards hydrogen and fuel cell aircraft demonstration, leading to supporting the scale-up of hydrogen in a “hub.”

VFS formed H2-Aero in 2022 to tackle these tough challenges, to be the US voice to bring hydrogen and aviation experts together with the goal of developing both a roadmap and a Public-Private Partnership with government and industry. VFS hopes to help accelerate the future of sustainable flight, towards commercialization of hydrogen aviation with this game-changing capability.

Learn more about hydrogen for aircraft from dozens of VFS news postings since 2018 years.