THP-E183: Incredible News: Hydrogen Powered Aircraft (And The Future Of Aviation) Just Took Off. Also, Hystar Has A Great Day.

January 23, 2023 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 183

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 183, Time Magazine dives into the ZeroAvia test flight, and Hystar announces their series B funding result. I’ll go over all of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please feel free to email me at with any questions. Also, if you wouldn’t mind subscribing to my podcast using your preferred platform… I would greatly appreciate it.

Paul Rodden



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Time Magazine dives into the ZeroAvia test flight, and Hystar announces their series B funding result. I’ll go over all of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

An article in Alejandro de la Garza writes, hydrogen powered planes could be the best bet for greener air travel. On January 20, the world’s largest ever hydrogen powered plane took off from an airport in UK made a 10 mile circle in the air and landed again about 10 minutes later, the plane a Dornier 228 19-seat turboprop extensively modified by startup ZeroAvia wasn’t exactly a jumbo jet, but it still accounts for a significant step in the nascent world of zero emission flight. The previous record for largest hydrogen aircraft, also held by ZeroAvia was for a six seat aircraft. onboard a pair of fuel cells converted hydrogen into electricity to run an electric motor on the planes left wing aided by a lithium ion battery that added extra power during takeoff. In case something went wrong with the zero carbon setup the planes other propeller was powered by conventional kerosene engine. And to keep things simple, the test plane only had about 10 kilograms of hydrogen on board.

That’s about 22 pounds, enough to fly for about 30 minutes. In a quote from Val Miftakhov ZeroAvia CEO in the target configuration for commercial flights. He says they’re looking at 80 to 100 kilos of hydrogen onboard, so a significantly longer range. This current plane is a stepping stone and the company’s larger ambitions. They’re currently working on a hydrogen power system for a 76 seat regional aircraft, which could be ready around 2026. The aviation industry produces about 2% of all humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions, a share that’s expected to grow as air travel expands. With many analysts expecting the sector to triple by 2050. It’s critical to find sustainable alternatives. But the physical constraints that plants operate under they have to be lightweight, refuel quickly and carry enough stored energy on board to make a decent distance before they have to refuel again, means that making a green replacement is more difficult than say building electric cars. Some startups are working to develop fully electric battery powered planes with some success.

Though many designs are relatively small. Alice, a battery electric airplane developed by startup Eviation, which had its first short test flight last fall can carry nine passengers the largest battery power plane and electrified Cessna Grand Caravan first flown in 2020, it can carry 14 passengers. Other companies are betting on so called E fuels, which can use chemical processes to convert renewable energy into liquid fuels like kerosene, which can then be used by planes of any size, and many airlines are investing in scaling up this seemingly simple solution, but many processes to produce that fuel rely on organic feedstocks, and there ultimately may not be enough to go around that leaves batteries and hydrogen as two longer term clean energy solutions. Miftakhov a former electric vehicle charging entrepreneur says that battery powered planes have a shot at decarbonizing the market for small short range planes. But that hydrogen is the only reasonable option for decarbonizing longer routes flown by bigger aircraft.

And another quote he says, if you do the math, there’s actually a limitation on how much energy you can store in the battery, you’re not going to be able to run a 787 over the Atlantic on that energy source. Those longer flights account for the lion’s share of the airline industry’s emissions in 2020. long flights of more than 4000 kilometers or about 2500 miles constituted just 6% of all flights departing from European airports but accounted for more than half of total flight emissions. This according to an analysis by Euro control the shortest flights of about 500 kilometers or 310 miles or less. The ballpark range of those being targeted by battery electric airplane companies were about 30% of departing flights and 4% of emissions. In order for battery powered flight to compete beyond extremely short flying routes. That’s according to Miftakhov batteries would have to store a lot more power charge very fast and last for 1000s of battery cycles before they need to be replaced. He says these are are at natural conflict with each other. To move these three by an order of magnitude each is a monumental challenge.

Hydrogen, on the other hand has enough energy density to power the largest planes. Though even compressed hydrogen takes up a larger volume on board a plane than conventional kerosene. European aircraft giant Airbus, for instance, is working on developing large hydrogen engines, which it claims will be able to demonstrate in the next four years. And like E fuels, producing hydrogen doesn’t require complicated chemical process, it can be even produced at the airport if needed. Again, according to Miftakhov eventually, I think it’s all going to be electric motors powered by hydrogen fuel cells 15 to 20 years out, obviously uncertain, will get the technology to a point where it can power some of the largest planes out there. Okay, so a great article in Time really highlighting one of the biggest news stories of this last week than that is ZeroAvia flight of a 19 passenger aircraft. I think it’s important to highlight what they’re talking about in this article about E fuels. Now, I’ve mentioned it several times this year so far. And for good reason. I think e fuels, especially ft fuels offer the best way for the large transportation industries like aviation, to start getting into the energy transition space, and really decarbonize the industry. And what’s also impressive is that this news comes on the coattails of what we talked about last time, with Raven Sr. ‘s announcement, providing ft fuels to Japan.

Now this article also mentioned Airbus. And while they said four years for a hydrogen engine demonstration, I think it’s going to come a lot sooner, especially with the recent announcement that Rolls Royce was able to test their hydrogen engine successfully. And so I don’t know about you, but I’m very much looking forward to what 2023 is going to bring with hydrogen news involving air transportation. Next in a press release on January 11, Hystar raises $26 million to scale up full commercial operations. Now this was a series B funding round which was co led by AP ventures and Mitsubishi Corporation. Hystar AS a Norwegian high tech hydrogen Company announced on January 11, a series B funding round of $26 million to rapidly scale up full commercial operations with an automated gigawatt capacity production line by 2025. The injection of capital raised through equity will also be used to fuel Oslo headquarters Hystar’s growth, expansion into new markets and ability to deliver on larger which is 100 megawatts and beyond projects. The round was co led by AP ventures and Mitsubishi Corporation. Additional investors in the round included Finindus, Nippon Steel Trading, Hillhouse Investment and Trustbridge Partners, alongside existing investors SINTEF Ventures and Firda.

Hystar’s PEM. electrolyzers are the most efficient and safest in the world and have been designed for mass manufacturing from the very beginning. The Ultra efficient design, which is patented and unique to Hystar boasts a 90% thinner membrane than conventional electrolyzers, enabling the production of up to 150% more green hydrogen. Hystar’s patented technology is a game changer when it comes to tackling hard to abate sectors at scale such as steel, ammonia, and heavy duty transportation. The global steel industry alone, for example, will require 52 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually to decarbonize by 2050. This according to a study by Wood McKinsey, in a quote from Fredrik Mowill, CEO of Hystar since our inception, we have been committed to rapidly scaling up to ensure the widespread commercial deployment of our game changing technology. We are therefore excited to have closed our series B funding round. With such high quality industrial and financial investors who can contribute to accelerating our growth.

We look forward to working with our new shareholders to explore joint opportunities to deploy green hydrogen projects at scale. We’re also very happy that our existing shareholders with AP ventures in the lead have continued their strong support of Hystar. Alright, so a great announcement by Hystar and a very solid Series B round of $26 million. And I very much wish good luck to them. Because the electrolyzer market is extremely hot right now. And they’re going to be going up against some of the biggest players in the industry. Now their new technology is patented. And with them focusing primarily on scalability, I think that could give them a pretty significant edge. Because ultimately, that’s who’s going to win out and the electrolyzer war going on right now, who can build these electrolyzers not just quickly and economically, but at a large enough scale to really meet all the orders that will be coming down the pipeline.

All right. That’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to. Apple podcast, Spotify, Google YouTube, Whatever it is, that will be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more, I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.