Australia-based aerospace startup AMSL Aero is looking to take hydrogen flight to the skies with the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA has awarded $5.43 million to AMSL as part of the Advancing Renewables Program, to develop a hydrogen powered eVTOL aircraft named the Vertiia.
Similar in operation to a helicopter and fitted with eight rotors, the Vertiia will be capable of carrying up to five passengers over distances up to 1,000km. The $10.86 million project follows AMSL's successful development of a prototype battery electric version of the Vertiia aircraft.
The grant will support AMSL to undertake development and certification activities for the aircraft, culminating in successful demonstration with a test flight of the prototype. If successful, the aircraft will be one of the lowest cost and cleanest forms of air transport for ranges up to 1,000km.
Based at Sydney's Bankstown airport, AMSL was founded in 2017 to develop and manufacture zero emissions aircraft. The Vertiia will be available for markets such as air ambulance, emergency services, and passenger and cargo transport.
The aviation sector is responsible for roughly 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with nearly a fifth coming from short haul flights under 1,000km. The development of Vertiia has received additional support from the Australian Government via the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program. ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the project is a prime example of Australian innovators taking the lead in developing renewable energy solutions.
"AMSL Aero is a homegrown Australian startup tackling one of the many challenges in the transition to net zero," he says. "Developing low emissions air transport will require a variety of solutions, including hydrogen and electric battery. AMSL's work on the Vertiia is truly pioneering in this space. For end users like emergency services, and personal and cargo transport, this technology is an exciting prospect for cutting emissions and costs from air transport."
AMSL co-founder and CEO Andrew Moore adds: "The significant funding provided by ARENA will mean that we can accelerate the design, build and certification activities for our long range, hydrogen powered eVTOL aircraft. It will mean that patients and passengers will have earlier access to the aircraft as a result and will play a key role in decarbonising air transport in Australia and abroad. We are very thankful that ARENA backs companies like ours that are committed to clean technology that will benefit society and our planet."
The AMSL Aero Vertiia is ARENA's first project in hydrogen powered aviation. ARENA has additional funding available for renewable energy in the aviation sector through the ongoing SAF funding initiative.