Australian aerospace startup AMSL Aero (AMSL) has been awarded a grant of 5.43 million Australian dollars (3.25 million euros) by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian Government, for the development of a hydrogen-powered electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The aircraft, which will be named the Vertiia, will look very much like a helicopter and will be able to carry up to five people over a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers, thereby making it one of the lowest cost and cleanest forms of air transport for ranges up to that distance.
Vertiia is not the first aircraft project for AMSL Aero, which founded in 2017 by Australian couple Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon to develop and manufacture zero emission aircraft. They have already developed a battery-electric version of the flying vehicle, which can cover distances up to 250 kilometers at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour. However, the hydrogen-powered aircraft should take that distance to another level and make Vertiia more versatile. According to ASML, the aircraft will be especially suitable for markets such as air ambulance, emergency services, passenger transport and cargo.
“AMSL Aero is a homegrown Australian startup tackling one of the many challenges in the transition to net zero. Developing low emissions air transport will require a variety of solutions, including hydrogen and battery-electric. 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”, CEO of ARENA, Darren Miller, commented on the grant.
The design of the aircraft hoovers somewhere between that of an airplane and that of a helicopter. Thanks to its eight tilting wings and eight rotors, the vehicle has the ability to take off vertically, which is ideal for complicated locations and situations. AMSL hopes to launch the aircraft commercially by 2026.
“The significant funding provided by ARENA will mean that we can accelerate the design, build and certification activities for our long range, hydrogen powered electric Vertical Take Off and Landing 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 who are committed to clean technology that will benefit society and our planet”, Andrew Miller, co-founder and CEO of AMSL Aero, said of the project.