The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

MagniX To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Zero-Emission Flights

Electric motor manufacturer MagniX is getting into the hydrogen fuel cell business, the company announced last week during the NBAA-BACE 2022 convention in Orlando, Florida. 

Based in Everett, Washington, MagniX is a developer of electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft, and the propulsion systems are power source-agnostic, meaning they can work with any type of power input. Now the company is adding hydrogen fuel cells to its portfolio of products to complement its battery-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems.

Two of the company’s 650-kilowatt Magni650 electric propulsion units (EPU) powered the recent first flight of Eviation’s all-electric Alice commuter airplane. The company’s 350-kilowatt Magni350 EPU has also powered the first fully electric flight of a modified Robinson R44 helicopter, and its 500-kilowatt Magni500 motors have flown on two aircraft: a converted Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and a Harbour Air eBeaver seaplane

“We're very focused on battery development, and we're also very focused on hydrogen fuel cell development,” Simon Roads, MagniX’s head of marketing, told FutureFlight. “We ultimately want to provide our customers with a full solution, not just the EPU that we are building today…but also the energy storage system that feeds that, so that we can offer battery, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell solutions to our customers.”

Last year, MagniX also announced a partnership with AeroTec, Universal Hydrogen, and its hydrogen fuel cell partner Plug Power to set up a hydrogen aviation test and service center at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. The partners plan to use the facility to convert a Dash 8 regional airliner to hydrogen propulsion in time to start commercial operations in 2025. The first flight of the hydrogen-powered Dash 8 is scheduled to take place in Moses Lake by the end of this year, Universal Hydrogen announced last week. 

“The future of sustainable aviation will require a mix of solutions,” said MagniX CEO Nuno Taborda. “We are bringing our experience and expertise to advance hydrogen fuel cell technology, which will enable us to power even more aircraft.”

“This technology has the potential to play a significant role in ushering in the era of zero-carbon flight,” added MagniX chief technology officer Riona Armesmith. “By complementing our existing battery electric and hybrid electric programs, it will allow us to best serve the electric aerospace marketplace, meeting the needs of the planet and of our customers.”