A hydrogen-electric midsize business jet could be in service by around 2030 if AeroBeyond goes ahead with plans it unveiled at the Paris Air Show on Monday. According to the French startup, the new BYA-I aircraft will carry four passengers over 800 nm at a speed of 310 kts.
Over the past 18 months, Aero Beyond has built and tested an 85-kW subscale technology demonstration of a hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrain. The Toulouse-based group now includes a pair of electric fans on the rear of the fuselage on a 1-MW unit extension system.
Initially, the BYA-I ran on gaseous hydrogen stored in tanks mounted under the cabin. However, Beyond Aero plans to convert to liquid hydrogen. said Eloa Guillotin, the company’s founder and CEO. eye It currently bills the jet as a low-carbon aircraft because fully green hydrogen supplies are not guaranteed worldwide. She said that pink hydrogen produced from nuclear power would provide a desirable fuel source for aviation.
On Wednesday, Aero Beyond will announce strategic fuel supply partnerships with French airports and several other European countries. Later, the company, which is a member of the Alliance for Zero Emission Aviation, aims to establish similar arrangements with airports in the US. The BYA-I can operate from 2,800-foot runways.
The BYA-I design features a crescent-shaped air intake to the rear of the fuselage that cools the powertrain. That feature represents one of two patents held by Beyond Aero, the other being the concept of placing the fuel tanks judiciously under the fuselage so they don’t compromise space in the cabin, which seats up to eight passengers. The company is to certify the aircraft according to EASA’s existing CS-23 regulations.
Beyond Aero, which was founded in December 2020 and has raised around $10 million so far, is now looking to attract more investment. It is part of the Y Combinator startup accelerator and has received support from the French 2030 government fund and the Ami-Melle program from the country’s Occitanie region.
The company said it has signed letters of intent covering potential orders for 72 of the new planes worth $580 million (representing a starting price of $8.1 million). He declined to identify their customers, suggesting they may be existing commercial aircraft operators looking to decarbonize their fleets.
The availability of a hydrogen-powered business jet could go a long way toward countering the negative focus on private aviation from activists who see it as a major cause of environmental damage. At the EBACE business aviation trade show in May, protesters from several groups entered the static display and locked themselves with planes, causing some damage.