Hungerford’s Fuel Cell Systems Ltd (FCSL) is very proud to have recently refuelled the first hydrogen-electric passenger flight. The Piper M-class six-seat plane completed taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, and landing on 24 September at ZeroAvia’s R&D facility in Cranfield. FCSL supplied a redeployable electrolyser producing hydrogen and a mobile hydrogen refuelling truck with 55kg storage to enable the innovative project to be delivered. The launch flight was watched by Aviation Minister, Robert Courts.
The successful flight represents a significant milestone on the road to zero-emission commercial flights.
Funded through the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, the HyFlyer project will now enter its final stage of technology integration and testing which will culminate in a 250-Nautical Mile zero-emission hydrogen powered flight out of an airfield in Orkney before the end of the year.
Earlier in September FCSL announced a three-way partnership agreement with Vanguard Sustainable Transport Solutions Ltd and TP Group to deliver hydrogen fuelling solutions in the rail industry and explore opportunities for a range of services including on-site hydrogen generation, storage and dispensing, with fuel cell integration into rail rolling stock such as the HydroFLEX train, a project for which FCSL provided the hydrogen dispensing product, HyQube.
FCSL is an off-shoot of UPS Systems (stand-by power company) founded by Tom and Karen Sperrey in Hungerford over 25 years ago. When UPS was sold in 2016, Tom Sperrey remained CEO of the smaller Fuel Cell Systems, based at Station Yard near the train station. This concentrates exclusively on developing hydrogen refuelling products as well as integration and distribution of a full range of hydrogen fuel cells, offering a greener approach to off grid power.
Over the years they have worked on projects around the world including environmental projects in the UK like the Environment Agency’s eel pass at Woolston which needed long-term, remote, reliable and quiet power source to operate and monitor the eel flap-gate to allow the easy movement of migrating eels between stretches of river. And in 2019 Fuel Cell Systems was asked to find a solution to power a remote Arctic field station to observe and record the local biosphere over a prolonged period on Prins Karls Forland, an island off the coast of Svalbard, home to an important bird sanctuary.
But reuelling infrastructure for transport will be an increasing focus of FCSL’s work as the government begins to recognise and support hydrogen as an important energy source for carbon free transport options. Government and business alike are grappling with the concept of “Building Back Better” and adapting this established disaster recovery principle to address the pressing environmental emergency of the 21st century.
The FCSL team is very local including Richard Stockwell, Henry Mills and Jackie Bracey from Hungerford, Rachael Barker from Ramsbury, Tom Chicken from Newbury and Beth Dawson from Swindon. They like to work with other local companies where possible including Triteq for product design, Planet for marketing, Ice Free Saphhire for steel framework for their refuelling products and Butler Signs for vehicle livery
For any more information about FCSL, please contact our team on 01488 705070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.