Building the future of flight

Deutsche Aircraft and H2FLY join forces to explore hydrogen powered flight

July 6, 2021
Deutsche Aircraft Sales and Marketing Team
  • Parties plan to fly a Dornier 328 demonstrator, zero carbon emissions, hydrogen fuel cell aircraft in 2025
  • Project designed to demonstrate potential for climate-neutral regional flights
  • H2FLY already flew the world’s first hydrogen-electric passenger flight and demonstrated longest ever hydrogen fuel cell-powered flight in 2020
  • Partnership demonstrates German leadership in hydrogen technology

H2FLY, a German start-up developing hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircraft, and Deutsche Aircraft, a new German aircraft manufacturer putting climate change at the centerstage of their design philosophy, today announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) to work together on the research and development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology for commercial regional aircraft.

The partnership will see the two companies convert the Dornier 328 aircraft for hydrogen flight, with the demonstrator aircraft expected to take to the skies in 2025. The program is expected to validate the potential for hydrogen to deliver climate neutral regional air travel with up to 40 seats, while demonstrating German leadership in this important field.

Having grown out of a partnership between the German Aerospace Center and the University of Ulm, H2FLY has demonstrated innovative Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology in aviation. The four-seater hydrogen-electric-powered HY4 proved successfully in multiply flight campaigns and over 70 take-offs the applicability of this technology in aviation. With its range of up to 750 km regional markets can be developed.

Today’s announcement marks the next step on the journey towards making climate neutral regional flight a reality, with the teams planning to equip the demonstrator aircraft with a 1.5MW hydrogen system, making it the most powerful hydrogen-electric-powered aircraft to date.

The project will see the companies work together on integrating the power system into the aircraft as well as defining the specific technical and certification requirements for fuel cell systems in EASA’s large aircraft class (“CS25”). The project is designed to complement the German Federal Government’s Aviation Strategy.

Commenting on the announcement, Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO, H2FLY, said: “Flying provides an incredibly important opportunity for humankind, but today that opportunity comes at a significant cost to our planet.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology provides an opportunity for us to completely eliminate carbon and NOx emissions from regional flights and the technology to make that happen is closer than most people think.

 “Over the last 16 years we have worked hard to demonstrate our technology on smaller aircraft, completing record breaking flights based six powertrain generations. Today we’re pleased to be taking that to the next level with Deutsche Aircraft as we scale our efforts up to regional aircraft.”

Martin Nüßeler, CTO at Deutsche Aircraft, added: “Deutsche Aircraft is convinced that the higher propulsive efficiency of propeller powered aircraft will drive the change in propulsion technology and will result in reducing fuel consumption and emissions even further in the future. Combining modern propeller aircraft design with zero carbon energy sources is central to achieving climate-neutral air transportation. “

“We are looking forward to partner with companies that do not only share our passion for the environment, but also have the technical expertise to ensure that climate-optimised aviation stays safe and reliable, we are convinced the partnership with H2FLY will move us forward on the path to applying hydrogen fuel cells in larger aircraft.”   

Walter Schoefer, Spokesman of the Management Board of Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH (FSG), says: “The process of transforming aviation into a climate-friendly form of air transport is now gaining momentum in a tangible way. This partnership combines pioneering spirit and world-class science with decades of experience in aircraft engineering. We are convinced that this is a milestone on the road to zero-emission aircraft. As an airport, we are called to act as an enabler on this path. As fairport, we want to continue to be a pioneer in the area of sustainability.”

Thomas Jarzombek, Member of the German Bundestag, Coordinator of the Federal Government for German Aerospace, made the following remarks: “From 2035 onward hybrid-electric flying has to be the new standard in Germany. I am happy about the agreed technological cooperation for a sustainable aviation made in Germany. The German Government will continue to support this path to innovation with its R&D funding program aiming to let the vision of a Zero-Emission Aircraft become reality”


About the data:
- Source: Cirium
- Schedules data: full year 2019 vs. 2020 – excludes non-scheduled flying
- In-service data:
- For 2019 the data is dated April while for 2020 it’s dated October. We wanted to compare “shoulder month” to shoulder month, however April 2020 wouldn’t have captured the immediate impact of Coronavirus as our dataset classes aircraft as in storage after 3 months of inactivity.

DA Aviation Ecosystem Review

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Based on market research surrounding our vision of building a sustainable future for aviation, this report provides insight into how we see Deutsche Aircraft fitting into the everchanging aviation environment.

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DA Latest News in a Nutshell

New talent appointed to strengthen the Deutsche aircraft programme

As part of its continued support of Deutsche Aircraft’s D328eco aircraft programme, 328 Support Services GmbH recently appointed a panel of “talent experts” to further strengthen the overall team and ensure strong management structure and processes are in place across the D328eco development programme. Today we focus on the Engineering & Programme departments.

On the programme side, Mr. Peter Spyrka has been appointed Director of Programmes. Peter brings over 20 years’ experience in the global aerospace industry with engineering & development works on both civil and military aircraft programmes. Prior to joining Deutsche Aircraft, Peter worked at Airbus, leading the Hybrid Electric Propulsion System development programme for demonstrator projects. He also worked for Fairchild Dornier back in the late 1990’s.

In Engineering, Mr. Jean-Damien Mazeau has been appointed as our new Head of Propulsion Systems. Jean-Damien also brings more than 20 years’ aeronautical experience to Deutsche Aircraft, having built most of his career at Airbus. He was most recently involved with the A320neo’s entry into service, in charge of propulsion system’s global technical Support.

Last but not least, Dr. Stefan Brunner brings more than two decades of expertise and experience to his position as Head of Airframe. Throughout his career, Stefan spent more than 17 years working directly for the Airbus group where he was heavily involved with a wide variety of major engineering programmes on both commercial aviation and defence & space programmes. In his new role, Stefan will be responsible for design, analysis and modification of the D328eco airframe’s primary structure (Fuselage, Fairings, Wing, Empennage), as well as establishing new processes and procedures to complete aircraft development. Finally, he is responsible for ensuring compliance with the European Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations.

In addition to Peter, Jean Damien and Stefan, we are also proud to announce that we have been busy hiring new talent from not only within Germany, but from all over the world. Coming from a variety of companies within the aerospace industry, we look forward to utilising our new team members’ skills and expertise to achieve the entry into service scheduled for 2025.

All are great assets to the current Engineering & Programme team and will, without a doubt, help support Deutsche Aircraft’s development programme over the coming years.

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