Universal Hydrogen Co. has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with ACIA Aero Leasing (ACIA), a regional aircraft lessor with offices in Ireland, France, Canada, Mauritius, and South Africa. ACIA expects to place 10 firm orders for Universal Hydrogen’s ATR 72 conversion kits with additional purchase rights for 20 more conversion kits of various turboprop types.
To accelerate market adoption of hydrogen in aviation, Universal Hydrogen is developing a conversion kit to retrofit existing regional airplanes—starting with the ATR72 and the De Havilland Canada Dash-8—to hydrogen power.
The conversion consists of a fuel cell electric powertrain that replaces the existing turboprop engines. It also accommodates, in the rear of the fuselage, UH’s proprietary, lightweight, modular hydrogen capsules that are transported from green hydrogen production sites to the airport and loaded directly into the aircraft using the existing intermodal freight network and cargo handling equipment.
Following the aircraft conversions, Universal Hydrogen and ACIA will collaborate on marketing hydrogen fuel services to ACIA’s leasing customers.
Universal Hydrogen and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) also recently announced their partnership to enable the aviation industry to decarbonize through zero-emissions green hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is a zero-pollution aviation fuel and is also the most weight-efficient energy carrier available, aside from nuclear fuels—with nearly four times more energy per unit of mass than traditional jet fuel.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two, FFI and Universal Hydrogen have agreed to:
Negotiate a global offtake arrangement whereby FFI will supply green hydrogen to Universal Hydrogen to power regional and other aviation sectors until 2035;
Conduct a scoping study to develop green hydrogen production and logistics hubs in Iceland, New Zealand and Southeast Queensland; and
Evaluate future green hydrogen demand in the aviation industry on a region-by-region basis to identify and promote green hydrogen adoption and uptake.