Wingcopter and ZAL to explore green hydrogen propulsion for drones


Wingcopter and Hamburg-based ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research are to jointly explore green hydrogen to power Wingcopter’s drones.

Already purely electric, by refitting the battery-powered Wingcopter 198 to run on hydrogen, the firms’ hope to make the aircraft more powerful. The propulsion system will later be produced by Wingcopter itself and installed in its delivery drones.

Tom Plümmer, Wingcopter co-founder & CEO, is confident the firms can develop a more efficient propulsion solution. “We have always wanted the Wingcopter to be able to fly even further. However, we categorically ruled out the installation of a conventional combustion engine right from the start with a view to the environment and climate change. We are happy to now explore technical possibilities in the field of hydrogen propulsion together with the ZAL experts and then put the best concept into practice,” he said.

The project-related modification of the Wingcopter will take place at ZAL‘s Fuel Cell Lab in Hamburg. As part of the partnership, a solution is being developed that will fit into the existing technical ecosystem of the Wingcopter delivery drone while preserving flight capabilities. In the past, ZAL engineers have been able to achieve a flight duration of over two hours with the company’s own ZALbatros hydrogen drone.

Roland Gerhards, CEO of ZAL, said: “Our mission is to bring hydrogen into the air and create innovative solutions for sustainable aviation. With Wingcopter as our partner, we’re not only impressed by their drones’ flight performance, but also by their clear vision of how urban air mobility and especially drone delivery can help improve people’s lives. This aligns perfectly with ZAL’s values. With our expertise, we want to convert the Wingcopter to hydrogen and thus strengthen the Hamburg UAM network Windrove with another flagship project.”