The aircraft took off from Cotswold Airport in the UK, with the left side of the aircraft powered by a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, and the right side using conventional paraffin.
Challenges of zero emission aviation
The aviation industry is responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing these is a high priority. Hydrogen fuel cells are seen as a possible approach to reducing emissions in this sector, although there are still technological challenges to overcome before they can be scaled up to larger aircraft.
Despite the successful test flight and planned commercialisation, there are still significant hurdles to overcome before greener flying becomes a reality. Scaling hydrogen fuel cells to larger aircraft is difficult because they are heavy and hydrogen takes up a lot of space:
This is a wonderful first step, but of course it’s only the first step.
– Andreas Schafer, director of the Air Transportation Systems Lab at University College London