Queensland Pioneers Zero-Emissions Hydrogen-Powered Commercial Flights by 2026

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In a groundbreaking initiative, commercial hydrogen planes are set to take flight in Queensland, Australia, as early as 2026. The newly formed Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA), comprising airports, airlines, and various organisations, aims to usher in a new era of sustainable aviation.

Queensland-based regional carrier Skytrans leads the way with a 15-seat Stralis B1900D-HE aircraft on the Brisbane-Gladstone route. Based on the Beechcraft 1900D turboprop, this modified aircraft undergoes a remarkable transformation. 

A Hydrogen Electric Propulsion System (HEPS) and a liquid hydrogen storage tank are replaced by conventional engines and kerosene fuel, ensuring only water vapour emissions during flights.

Stralis Aircraft, the manufacturer behind this hydrogen-powered aircraft, intends to initiate test flights of its Beechcraft Bonanza demonstrator in Southeast Queensland by 2024.

“The HFA allows us to answer the most common question we hear from airline customers, which is how they will access affordable green hydrogen at airports in the future,” Stralis Aircraft Co-Founder and CEO Bob Criner said.

The HFA includes esteemed members such as Brisbane Airport, Gladstone Airport, Aviation Australia, BOC, H2 Energy Company (h2ec), Griffith University, and Central Queensland University. With a collective vision to lead the aviation industry’s transition towards net-zero emissions by 2050, this alliance aims to ensure Australia’s prominent role in the global sustainable aviation movement.

“Green hydrogen will be a game-changer in decarbonising heavy haulage, shipping, manufacturing, and aviation, while also slashing emissions and safeguarding natural tourism wonders,” State’s Minister for Energy, Renewables, and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni MP said.

The aviation industry’s growing emphasis on sustainability is underscored by Qantas’ efforts to promote sustainable aviation fuel from agricultural waste and Rex’s recent investment in electric aviation firm Dovetail.

As Queensland takes the lead in pioneering hydrogen-powered commercial flights, the world looks to Australia as a trailblazer in sustainable aviation, revolutionising the industry and paving the way for a greener future.

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