PA-890: the World’s First Helicopter to Run on Hydrogen

PA-890: the World's First Helicopter to Run on Hydrogen

A company specializing in the creation of hydrogen fuel cells has partnered with an airline to build what would be the world’s first hydrogen helicopter capable of carrying people inside. However, during the process they hope to develop and certify a hydrogen system that can be integrated into any aircraft in the future.

Both companies have initially raised six and a half million dollars for what would be a revolutionary propulsion system for electric aircraft. This mechanism would be fully certified and would allow electric airplanes to transport energy several times on board, increasing their resistance to flight and allowing a quick refueling.

The advantages of using hydrogen fuel

The hydrogen will give a power of up to 1,500 watt-hours per kilo of energy density. Lithium batteries typically cannot exceed 300 watt-hours per kilogram of energy density.

The hydrogen fuel system has already been validated in different tests and gives sufficient capacity to perform the take-off and landing tasks, which consume a lot of energy.

The initial idea is to make five 650 kW hydrogen batteries that will be integrated into the PA-890 electric helicopter. This prototype would have five seats . However, at the moment the aircraft has not been fully certified for commercial use.

Air mobility is likely to increase in the future thanks to the use of these types of vehicles. There are many companies that want to manufacture these aircraft and use them as a method of transportation.

The sky will be full of these airships

That would imply the creation of new runways and landing pads and a possible saturation of the airspace, a situation that could become dangerous. Also, the use of batteries could make it difficult to function. That is why the use of hydrogen as a fuel source helps create a long-range, fast-fueling system that will be very important in the future.

The president and director of the airline has assured that at this moment his team is focused on developing and qualifying hydrogen batteries to implement them in what would be the first hydrogen-powered helicopter in the world.

In fact, it is expected that in the future different companies will collaborate on this same technology in order to further improve and optimize this system.

Laboratory tests show that hydrogen fuel cells have sufficient technical feasibility. The goal is to develop large-scale systems within a couple of years to support the certification testing of these aircraft within three years and thus fulfill customer orders starting in 2025.