Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), the UK SME heading the Project Fresson consortium, plans to take advantage of hydrogen fuel cell technology to create a commercially feasible retrofit powertrain solution for the nine-passenger Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.
By September 2022, Project Fresson will deliver an emissions-free (zero CO2), hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered flying demonstrator.
CAeS welcomed Ricardo UK and Innovatus Technologies to the Fresson consortium after a comprehensive review of hydrogen technology innovators. Innovatus Technologies brings their advanced Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Tank (SHyFT) technology, while Ricardo UK brings experience in fuel cell system production.
“We are proud to join the Cranfield Aerospace Solutions consortium to play our part in helping to reduce the carbon footprint for commercial air passengers. We are already working on hydrogen and fuel cell technology, providing clean efficient solutions which reduce carbon and noxious emissions across a wide range of sectors. Our work for the Fresson consortium will enable us to consolidate and grow our hydrogen fuel cell and propulsion capability, so that Ricardo can achieve its ambition of becoming a world-leader in hydrogen and fuel cell services and solutions and help accelerate net zero transportation.”Steve Dyke, Managing Director Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA Division.
“We are proud in being selected to join the Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, ‘Project Fresson’, consortium. Our unique and innovative SHyFT solution is game-changing in bringing zero carbon fuel cell energy to commercial reality in the transport sector. Project Fresson showcases important Scottish innovation and next generation hydrogen tank manufacturing in the UK.”Ruan Swart, chief executive officer Innovatus Technologies.
Following a thorough review of technologies and configurations for sustainable aircraft propulsion, the Fresson team concluded that hydrogen fuel cell technology is the best option for meeting environmental, regulatory, and operational criteria for this size of aircraft, resulting in zero carbon emissions and lower operating costs. This has provided the Fresson consortium, which includes Britten-Norman and Cranfield University, with an ability to provide a more advanced technology curriculum that goes beyond the initial demonstrator model.
“This is incredibly important for the Project Fresson Team but also for everyone else around the world interested in zero emissions flight. This project can deliver the world’s first truly “green” passenger carrying airline services. The whole team is proud of what Project Fresson has achieved so far and excited about what is to come. I am very thankful for the support of the ATI and our investors for making this ground-breaking work a reality.”Paul Hutton, chief executive officer, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions.
The ATI Program, a collaborative Government and business investment to sustain and develop the UK’s competitive role in civil aerospace design and manufacture, is supporting Project Fresson. The initiative tackles infrastructure, capacity, and supply chain issues through a cooperation with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Policy (BEIS), and Innovate UK.