Toulouse, France-based aviation startup, Beyond Aero, is making waves in the industry with its ambitious plan to bring a hydrogen-powered business jet to the market. Taking part in the Battlefield startup competition at Disrupt this week, Beyond Aero is currently undergoing ground-testing of its 85 kW hydrogen-based propulsion system, with flight tests of its single-engine test bed scheduled for later this year.
Beyond Aero is developing a hydrogen-powered business jet, the Beyond Aero One, with a range of up to 800 nautical miles. The company aims to address the carbon emissions associated with business aviation while capitalizing on the growing demand for sustainable alternatives.
The Beyond Aero One: A Revolutionary Business Jet
The Beyond Aero One, the company’s flagship business jet, is set to impress with its range of up to 800 nautical miles and a speed of approximately 310 knots (or just over 356 miles per hour). With seating for up to eight passengers, this hydrogen-powered aircraft is poised to make a significant impact in the aviation industry. However, Beyond Aero’s vision extends far beyond just a business jet, with plans to launch a commuter jet and potentially even larger planes in the future.
Founders Eloa Guillotin, Hugo Tarlé, and Valentin Chomel bring a combination of entrepreneurship and aerospace industry expertise to the company. Chomel, previously working with Safran, one of the world’s largest aircraft equipment manufacturers, was inspired by eVTOLs and hydrogen propulsion systems. Together, the trio saw the opportunity to revolutionize the aviation industry by leveraging the benefits of hydrogen technology.
While the aviation industry is gradually moving towards electric propulsion, Beyond Aero believes that hydrogen fuel cells offer a more viable solution for larger aircraft. Hydrogen fuel cells have already been widely deployed in heavy ground transportation such as buses and trucks, making the transition to aviation a natural progression.
One of the main challenges lies in hydrogen storage and thermal management in an aviation setting. Beyond Aero has filed several patents to overcome these obstacles. Their innovative approach involves placing the hydrogen tanks in a fairing under the aircraft’s main body and implementing a heat management system. Integrating these systems seamlessly is at the core of their technological advancements.
Achieving Technological Feasibility
Beyond Aero’s current focus is on refining its demonstrator and validating its assumptions. Once successful, the company plans to commence work on the production of the Beyond Aero One business jet. With the immense carbon emissions associated with business aviation, the team believes that their hydrogen-powered aircraft will not only be environmentally friendly but will also address the market demand for sustainable alternatives.
While private jet ownership carries a negative public perception, personal convictions, and the ESG goals of companies are driving the demand for cleaner alternatives. Beyond Aero aims to cater to this market, offering an innovative solution that can compete with established players like Falcon and Gulfstream.
Beyond Aero acknowledges the need for an adequate hydrogen refueling infrastructure for their aircraft to succeed. While hydrogen itself is widely available, the lack of refueling infrastructure poses a challenge. The company proposes that airports invest in mobile hydrogen tanker trailers to ensure the availability of hydrogen fuel. However, this requires significant investment and aligning with airports’ transition to sustainable aviation fuel.
Beyond Aero believes that by leveraging the existing aviation ecosystem and utilization of hydrogen, they can pave the way for a greener future in the aviation industry. With strong investor support from Initialized, Air France, and renowned unicorn founders, Beyond Aero is well-positioned to disrupt the market and lead the hydrogen aviation revolution.