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Dispelling misperceptions, industry education and building logistic capacity are the key issues that need to be addressed when it comes to hydrogen technology development to power the future of aviation, including eVTOL aircraft.
This is according to Danielle McLean, founder and CEO of HYSKY Society, the only organization in the U.S. focused on advancing hydrogen aviation.
The organization is a spinoff of the Vertical Flight Society’s (VFS) H2eVTOL Council, which was led by McLean and produced free webinars, now called HYSKY Monthly. Responding to consistent record attendance, she and VFS leader Mike Hirshberg agreed hydrogen aviation needed its own dedicated non-profit organization.
Born out of the eVTOL sector, McLean said HYSKY supports the use of hydrogen fuel cells, believing that electric propulsion is best achieved through this technology. Alternatively, HYSKY also supports hydrogen combustion, which is a non-electric method of using hydrogen that’s completely different from electric applications and has its own specific use cases.
“To help clarify the differences and highlight the fact these power methods are both effective for achieving decarbonization, HYSKY is excited to announce the development of a hydrogen aviation curriculum,” McLean said. “This will be available at every education level, and will begin with live in-person classes presented by the original authors at upcoming aviation events, simultaneously released in online format.”
While the course is for the entire hydrogen aviation industry, its eVTOL focus will be extensive. McLean explained that according to Matt Moran of Moran Innovation, NASA has been using hydrogen combustion in the space shuttle program for decades, as fuel cell technology is relatively new and not yet completely accepted in aerospace. To reconcile this, she said the sector must begin educating.
She said HYSKY wants everyone to understand the differences between combustion and electric propulsion by sharing examples that are easy to comprehend.
“The misinformation related to hydrogen is hindering its potential to transform our lives,” she said. “For example, hydrogen did not cause the Hindenburg to blow up, but that is still the first response I hear when approaching this topic. We must get past these misconceptions in order for this amazing little molecule to lead us to a carbon-free future.”
While hydrogen fuel cells may sound complex, McLean said HYSKY’s hydrogen curriculum will make this technology digestible for everyone.