Universal Hydrogen, seeking to build hydrogen storage systems and conversion kits for commercial aircraft, announced a $20.5 million Series A round on Earth Day, giving the race to decarbonize aviation a boost.
Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation, and Future Shape were among the investors in the round, which was led by Playground Global.
The company’s first product will be lightweight modular capsules that will carry “green hydrogen,” which will be manufactured using renewable energy, to aircraft with hydrogen fuel cells. The capsules would eventually be available in a variety of sizes for VTOL air taxis to long-distance single-aisle flights.
Universal Hydrogen is designing a modified 40-60-seat turboprop capable of regional flights of up to 700 miles to help kickstart the demand for its capsules. The project is a partnership between Plug Power, a seed investor, and magniX, a company that manufactures electric aircraft motors. Plug Power will supply the hydrogen and fuel cells, and magniX will produce the electric aircraft motors.
By 2025, Eremenko aims to have the plane carrying paying passengers in a bigger, 50-seater plane, and eventually manufacture kits for regional airlines to retrofit their own planes.