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Bankstown Airport hosts landmark hydrogen fuel tests

written by Jake Nelson | July 10, 2024

The AMSL Aero team with Vertiia at Bankstown Airport. (Image: AMSL Aero)

Bankstown says it has become the first airport in the Southern Hemisphere to host hydrogen fuel.

Ground testing on the powertrain for electric aviation firm AMSL Aero’s Vertiia eVTOL aircraft is currently underway at Bankstown, with cylinders of hydrogen fuel on-site and in use.

Daniel Jarosch, CEO of Bankstown Airport owner Aeria Management Group, said the tests make Bankstown “the launching pad for the future of Australian aviation”.

“Australia has the potential to lead the evolution towards Advanced Air Mobility aircraft, which will bring sustainability to the skies and to the ways we travel, live and work, from faster freight deliveries and city commutes to greater connectivity for people in regional and rural areas,” he said.

“The landmark development of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft by AMSL Aero at Bankstown Airport puts us in the cockpit for shaping a more sustainable and innovative aviation ecosystem for future generations.”

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Vertiia, which AMSL Aero says will have a range of up to 1000km when powered by hydrogen, hovered for the first time last year and will undergo its first test flight in 2025. Its first commercial flights are planned for 2027.

According to AMSL Aero CEO Max York, the collaboration with Bankstown Airport is a significant milestone for Vertiia.

“With AMSL Aero and Bankstown Airport leading the charge in adopting hydrogen as aviation fuel, Australia is poised to play a key role in the global transition towards sustainable aviation,” he said.

“This partnership is also a vital step towards our goals to improve the lives of Australians in the bush by enabling long-distance, efficient aeromedical, passenger, cargo and firefighting flights.

“Hydrogen holds immense potential as a clean and efficient fuel for aviation, offering zero-emission, longer distance flights that can significantly reduce the cost and carbon footprint of air travel.”

Vertiia has eight tilting wings and can carry up to four passengers plus pilot, and AMSL says it will be capable of taking off from helipads or similar-sized landing sites and conducting on-demand services between regional locations, at speeds of up to 300km/h.

AMSL Aero last year received $5.43 million in Federal Government funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology for Vertiia, with the eVTOL landing its first commercial customer, general aviation and regional airline group Aviation Logistics, in February 2024.

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