The Singaporean company HES Energy System has presented plans for a hydrogen-electric passenger plane named Element One. The plane will be capable of carrying four passengers on stretches from 500 km to 5,000 km. The first prototype is expected in 2025.
The range difference of the Element One depends on whether the hydrogen is stored in liquid or gaseous form. The manufacturer does not specify whether this will be issued in different performance variations, or whether this is up to the pilot. The company is however cooperating with industrial-scale hydrogen producers to optimize the system and explore energy-efficient refueling systems.
The refueling system will be modular, allowing the user to swap a depleted unit for a fresh one in “no more than 10 minutes”, using an automated nacelle swap system.
HES Energy is certain of the potential of hydrogen technology for long range flight, particularly in decentralized and regional air travel. “It’s now possible to break past the endurance limits of battery-electric flight using HES’ ultra-light hydrogen energy storage in a distributed propulsion arrangement,” said Taras Wankewycz, founder of HES. The company aligned it’s zero carbon aviation roadmap with Wingly, a French startup specializing in flight sharing services. Wingly CEO adds: “By combining autonomous emission free aircraft such as Element One, digital community-based platforms like Wingly and the existing high density network of airfields, we can change the paradigm. France alone offers a network of more than 450 airfields but only 10% of these are connected by regular airlines. We will simply connect the remaining 90%.”