Aeristech joins H2GEAR, collaborating to develop a ground-breaking hydrogen propulsion system powering aircraft

GKN Aerospace will lead a ground-breaking UK collaboration programme, called H2GEAR, to develop the company’s first hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft. Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in the decarbonisation strategy of aviation as it can power aircraft efficiently, leaving water as the only by-product. H2GEAR puts GKN Aerospace at the heart of the technology developments needed for the future of more sustainable aviation. The technology will first focus on significantly improving sub-regional aircraft hydrogen powered performance, in turn enabling applications on larger aircraft and longer journeys. The programme is supported by £27M of ATI funding, matched by GKN Aerospace and its industrial partners.

H2GEAR aims to develop a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft that could be scaled up to larger aircraft. Liquid hydrogen is being converted to electricity within a fuel cell system. This electricity efficiently powers the aircraft, eliminating CO2 emissions. This would create a new generation of clean air travel, eliminating harmful CO2 emissions.

H2GEAR will reinforce the UK’s position at the forefront of aerospace technology research and development. GKN Aerospace will collaborate with Intelligent EnergyAeristechNewcastle University, The University of Manchester and University of Birmingham, throughout the programme, aiming to create more than 3,000 jobs in the next decade. The programme will be delivered from GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol, the company’s £32M brand-new collaborative space for research and development.

Russ Dunn, Chief Technology Officer for GKN Aerospace, said; “Hydrogen-powered aircraft offer a clear route to keep the world connected, with dramatically cleaner skies. The UK is at the forefront of this technology, and the H2GEAR project is an example of industry, academia and Government collaboration at its best. Working with our partners, and made possible by Government investment, GKN Aerospace will develop and industrialise the breakthrough technology to fly aircraft with zero CO2 emissions by the mid-2020s. This will not only create thousands of jobs, but it will keep the UK at the forefront of the next generation of cleaner air travel for decades to come.”

Duncan Kerr, CEO of Aeristech, said: “This is a truly ground-breaking programme for hydrogen technology, bringing together some of the UK’s most established organisations for a cutting edge clean aviation solution. Aeristech’s world leading power dense and efficient compressor technology will play a vital role in powering GKN Aerospace’ first hydrogen propulsion system, helping to bring hydrogen-powered air travel closer to reality.”

David Woolhouse, CEO at Intelligent Energy, said: “We have a very exciting programme of work over the next few years, including developing leading lightweight fuel cell modules for aerospace. This programme will see us develop the next generation of fuel cell technology and supports the growth of manufacturing right here in the East Midlands.  We are planning to increase our manufacturing capability with a new state-of-the-art Gigafactory facility in the region, positioning the East Midlands as a centre of hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing in the UK. The entry-into-service of the first hydrogen-powered aircraft could be as early as 2026.”

 GKN Aerospace will use its long term experience and in-depth knowledge of electrical power systems and propulsion technology to accelerate the development of technology. The entry-into- service of the first hydrogen-powered aircraft could be as early as 2026.

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Aeristech announces expansion into aerospace with HyFlyer II

Aeristech, a leading innovator in electric motor technology, has today announced an aerospace expansion that will create up to 60 new ‘green collar’ jobs. 

Aeristech’s aerospace facility will enable the company to begin offering its expertise in market-leading power dense electric motors and motor controllers to the aerospace sector, including for hydrogen fuel-cell compressors, which will make it possible to reduce aviation emissions. 

The planned expansion of Aeristech will see the company invest in an advanced facility in the West Midlands from which the company will deliver high tech projects with its aerospace sector partners. It will also see Aeristech take on up to 60 new roles, in highly skilled areas such as power electronics and motor drive engineering. 

The expansion follows the announcement of its first partnership, HyFlyer II, which will see its technology used as part of sustainable aviation innovator ZeroAvia’s UK Government-backed project to deliver the world’s first 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft by 2023. Aeristech’s cutting-edge 25kW fuel cell compressor technology will enable ZeroAvia to achieve the power output required for a 19-seat aircraft. 

Aeristech has been awarded UK Government funding through the ATI Programme of £2.75m for its part in the HyFlyer II project which will further strengthen the UK’s position as a hydrogen innovation powerhouse at the forefront of aerospace technology.  

The company already has market-leading technology in power dense electric motors and motor controllers and projects underway in the automotive sector.  

The announcement of Aeristech’s investment in new facilities and new roles is a boost for the UK’s aerospace sector and its supply chains, which has faced closures and job losses through 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Aeristech is investing in aerospace because it sees the potential for sustainable aviation technologies to lead the sector’s recovery. 

Establishing a dedicated aerospace facility will enable the company to meet the high-quality control, safety and management procedures and processes required to launch the aerospace business for success. 

The HyFlyer II project is the first of a steady stream of upcoming partnerships that will see Aeristech’s electric motor and motor controllers, including for hydrogen fuel cell compressors, play a vital role in enabling the aerospace sector’s biggest names to drive sustainable aviation forward. 

Duncan Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of Aeristech comments: 

“We are incredibly pleased to announce the launch of our aerospace facility and our involvement in HyFlyer II, where we will be working with industry-leading innovator ZeroAvia to bring passenger-ready zero emissions aviation to reality. 

“This is a significant expansion for Aeristech and highlights the potential for our technology in aerospace applications. 

“At Aeristech, we have a proven track record in other industries such as the automotive, marine, off-highway and material handling sectors. This has helped us to identify an exciting opportunity to use our technology to make large-scale, zero emissions hydrogen-electric flights possible, with the potential to create hundreds of highly skilled ‘green-collar’ jobs in the UK.” 

Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute, comments: 

“We are very pleased to see Aeristech investing in the creation of Aeristech Aerospace.  

“One of the strengths of the UK’s aerospace sector is the depth of its leading eco-system of innovative, highly-regarded engineering companies and suppliers. As sustainable aviation technologies become an imperative for the sector and a commercial reality through projects like HyFlyer II, it is vital that the UK can draw upon the expertise of innovators like Aeristech Aerospace. It also demonstrates the power of the Aerospace Technology Institute: build an environment for innovation in the UK and it leads to new businesses and new infrastructure, and creates the next generation of high-tech jobs.” 

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For more information:

Hoda Awad - Madano 

Aeristech@madano.com  

+44 (0) 20 7593 4014 

About Aeristech: 

Aeristech was founded in 2006 to develop electrification of automotive supercharger systems and has since become a leading designer of advanced electric motor systems. The company is based in Warwickshire, at the heart of the UK engineering industry, with access to automotive professionals, manufacturers, and prototype component suppliers. 

Aeristech’s technology enables it to manufacture the world’s fastest accelerating and most power dense permanent magnet variable speed electric motors. Aeristech’s high-speed motors are ideal for applications where efficiency, power density and speed are essential. 

The company recently moved into new dedicated headquarters in Leamington Spa, with laboratories, pilot production facilities and four fully instrumented test cells for motor and turbo-machine commissioning, validation and durability testing. In 2020 the company received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation for its electric motor system designs. 

About HyFlyer II: 

The HyFlyer II project aims to decarbonise medium range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace conventional piston engines in propeller aircraft.  

HyFlyer II will scale-up, develop and integrate the hydrogen-electric powertrain technology aboard an aircraft capable of carrying up to 19 passengers, which will perform initial test flights out of Cranfield and culminate in a 250 – 300 nautical mile (NM) demonstration flight out of an airfield in Orkney. 

The project is led by ZeroAvia with project partners the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Aeristech. 

The HyFlyer project is supported by the ATI Programme, a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme, delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges. 

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