Government backs futuristic aircraft to run on hydrogen

The Albanese Government is backing development of a hydrogen-powered aircraft to help first responders and defence personnel save lives and better meet the needs of Australians living in regional and remote areas.

With $5.43 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), aviation pioneers, Australian company AMSL Aero will develop an aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system.

The $10.86 million project by the Bankstown-based aerospace startup will demonstrate the feasibility of renewable hydrogen as a fuel for an aircraft with a range of up to 1,000km.

Able to carry up to 5 passengers, AMSL’s Vertiia aircraft could eventually help crucial operations including air ambulances, emergency services, defence operations and regional transport.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said hydrogen had a big role to play in Australia’s transport future.

“The Albanese Government is proud to be investing in this high-tech aviation project in parallel to more than $2.5 billion to get a domestic renewable hydrogen industry off the ground,” Minister Bowen said.

“AMSL’s aircraft could become an important tool for emergency services personnel, particularly as we face more frequent natural disasters.

“Green hydrogen and other sustainable aviation fuels are vital to help decarbonise the hard-to-abate aviation sector, now accounting for around 2.5% of global emissions.”

Australia’s regional and remote communities rely heavily on aviation, especially for aeromedical, emergency services and transportation.

AMSL has previously developed and flown a prototype electric battery only aircraft.

The Vertiia integrates a hydrogen fuel cell that will give the aircraft a much longer range.