Hydroplane receives award from California Energy Commission


Hydroplane has been awarded a CalTestBed voucher from the California Energy Commission to conduct testing of its propulsion system. 

Hydroplane is one of only 18 companies chosen for the latest cohort of the CalTestBed Initiative. Funded by the California Energy Commission and managed by New Energy Nexus, the CalTestBed gives California-based clean energy businesses access to over 60 testing facilities at nine University of California campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

The award will permit Hydroplane to conduct ground-based commercialisation studies at the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFRC) at the University of California in Irvine. “We are honoured to receive this award as it will allow us to accelerate commercialisation of our novel Hydroplane hydrogen fuel cell powerplant to decarbonise aviation and heavy-duty transport,” said Dr. Anita Sengupta, CEO and founder of Hydroplane. “Through testing in partnership with the NFRC, we will evaluate how the flight environment affects the powerplant and define the durability and reliability needed to certify hydrogen fuel cell technology for aircraft.”

Since launch in 2020, CalTestBed has awarded over $8.3m to 39 recipients across its first and second cohorts.

Rachel Yu, senior programme manager at New Energy Nexus’ CalTestBed, said: “California is a leader in clean energy innovation, and we are excited to support fellow leaders such as Hydroplane, a company on the forefront of reducing carbon burning fuel dependence. We look forward to partnering with Hydroplane to test and prove the commercial viability of their ground-breaking engine, bringing it one step closer to the commercial marketplace as a clean energy alternative.”

On track to fly its demonstrator aircraft this year, Hydroplane is developing a modular 200-kW (270 hp) hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for the general aviation, regional transportation, and UAM markets. The company’s powerplant, funded by the US Air Force’s Agility Prime Program will replace combustion-piston driven engines in currently certified, experimental, and future aircraft.