Swiss startup Sirius Aviation has recently unveiled their groundbreaking designs for the world’s first hydrogen-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The hydrogen-powered jet, reminiscent of Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon, aims to travel an impressive 1,851 km at speeds of up to 520 km/h, surpassing competitors like Germany’s Lilium targeting similar goals using batteries.
Liquid Hydrogen Propulsion – The Holy Grail of Sustainable Fuels
Sirius Aviation credits its extended range and speed capabilities to the use of liquid hydrogen propulsion, considered by some as the holy grail of fuels. The energy density of liquid hydrogen enables vehicles to cover longer distances compared to gaseous hydrogen or battery-powered alternatives, all without a significant increase in weight.
Technological Achievements and Certification Process
The startup reports that a team of over 100 engineers has been dedicated to intense research and development over the past two years to bring the hydrogen-powered eVTOL to life. Sirius Aviation claims to have initiated the certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), demonstrating confidence in the technological advancements achieved.
Photo Credit: Sirius Aviation
Two Models in Development
Sirius Aviation is concurrently developing two aircraft models:
- Business Jet: Designed to accommodate three people.
- Commercial Aviation Aircraft: Capable of transporting five people.
Ambitious Timeline and Challenges
While Sirius aims for the first demonstration flights in the coming year, the company envisions achieving full certification, commercial deliveries, and shuttle flights by 2028. However, significant challenges lie ahead, particularly in handling liquid hydrogen. The logistical complexities, from production and storage to distribution, present hurdles that need careful consideration.
Funding and Uncertainties
This innovative startup faces the need for substantial funding, and while BMW has collaborated in the design phase, it remains unclear whether the automotive giant will extend its involvement beyond that. Sirius intends to develop the entire system, including the liquid hydrogen powertrain, a task not previously accomplished for gaseous hydrogen planes.
The Bottom Line on Sirius Aviation
While their timeline appears ambitious, it aligns with the trend in the eVTOL startup space. The successful realization of Sirius Aviation’s vision will require overcoming technical, logistical, and financial challenges. As the aviation industry navigates the complexities of hydrogen propulsion, the world watches with anticipation for the potential emergence of a revolutionary hydrogen-electric eVTOL aircraft by 2025.