Destinus, a Swiss startup, is set to redefine air travel with its groundbreaking hypersonic hydrogen-powered jet. By harnessing the power of hydrogen, this innovative aircraft aims to reduce the grueling flight time from America to Australia from over 17 hours to an astonishing four hours. Let’s dive into the details of this remarkable technological advancement.
Destinus & Eiger: Pioneering the Hypersonic Future
Destinus envisions a future where hypersonic travel is made possible through hydrogen propulsion. By utilizing hydrogen as fuel, their high-speed, long-range hypersonic airplanes are set to transform the way we traverse the globe. The key to this revolution lies in the successful development of their prototype aircraft, named Eiger.
In late 2022, Destinus announced the successful test flights of the Eiger prototype. Equipped with an array of cutting-edge sensors, guidance systems, and cameras, the aircraft took to the skies, providing invaluable data for engineering teams to fine-tune and enhance their technologies. Eiger serves as an experimental flight platform, enabling direct in-flight testing of new equipment.
Accelerating Towards Supersonic Flight: The Next Frontier
Building upon the insights gained from Eiger’s test flights, Destinus is currently analyzing the data to further refine its supersonic flight capabilities and hydrogen propulsion systems. The next prototype, expected to be ready for testing by the end of 2023, will bring them one step closer to achieving their vision. According to Destinus, the first commercial intercontinental flights of their air freighter, with a payload of one ton, are planned for 2025. By 2029, they anticipate a payload capacity of 100 tons, with thousands of hyperplanes operating worldwide.
Grant Awards: Fueling Innovation and Collaboration
Recognizing the immense potential of Destinus’ hydrogen-powered aircraft, the Spanish Ministry of Science recently awarded the company grants to support their research and development endeavors in the field of supersonic flight. These grants will facilitate the construction of a test facility near Madrid, focusing on air-breathing hydrogen engines, and aid in the exploration of liquid hydrogen-powered propulsion systems. This includes the adaptation of existing jet engines to accommodate hydrogen as fuel.
Davide Bonetti, the VP of Business Development and Products for Destinus, expressed their delight at receiving these grants, emphasizing the alignment of Destinus with Spain and Europe’s strategic initiatives to advance hydrogen flight. These grants bring us one step closer to realizing the potential of hydrogen-based solutions for aeronautical mobility.
The Rise of Hydrogen-Powered Flight: Sustainable and Abundant
Hydrogen has gained significant attention in recent years due to its sustainability, affordability, and abundance. As a clean fuel, the combustion of hydrogen produces only heat and water, making it an environmentally friendly option. Additionally, hydrogen can be produced from water through electrolysis using renewable energy sources, ensuring its abundance and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. According to PWC, the cost of green hydrogen is expected to decrease by 50 percent by 2030, further enhancing its viability as an alternative fuel.
Universal Hydrogen: Pioneering the Future Together
Destinus is not the only player in the race to leverage hydrogen as a power source for aircraft. Los Angeles-based startup Universal Hydrogen successfully completed a 15-minute test flight in March 2023, using its own hydrogen-powered plane. During the flight, one of the turbine engines was replaced with Universal Hydrogen’s fuel cell-electric powertrain, while the other engine remained conventional to ensure safety. This milestone underscores the growing interest and potential of hydrogen propulsion in the aviation industry.
Transforming Transcontinental Travel
The development of a hypersonic hydrogen-powered jet by Destinus represents a monumental leap forward in air travel technology. With the capability to connect America and Australia in just four hours, this innovative aircraft will revolutionize transcontinental journeys, making them faster and more efficient than ever before. By harnessing the power of hydrogen, Destinus is spearheading a new era of sustainable and rapid air travel, shaping the future of aviation for generations to come.