The Swiss aerospace start-up Destinus SA wants to build a hydrogen powered hyperplane to meet the need for fast & clean transportation. Destinus has moved one step closer to realizing its dream after raising 26.8 million Swiss francs ($29 million) in a first round of funding, according to a company press release.
While the automotive industry is set to switch to battery-powered electrification to reduce carbon emissions, the airline industry’s switch won’t be so easy. Battery-powered flights, while being in trails & developed, have huge hurdles to overcome when it comes to their endurance & carrying capacity. While battery-powered air taxis could solve a city’s travel problems, the airline industry has its eyes set on alternative fuels such as hydrogen.
The biggest advantage of using hydrogen as an energy source is that it emits zero carbon emissions. When burned as fuel, hydrogen produces water as a by-product, which can-be split again using environmentally friendly methods to make fuel-again, a big plus for the transport sector. Destinus wants to take this concept one step further by powering hypersonic flights with this fuel.
A flying aircraft at the speed of the rocket
According to press release, Destinus envisions a hyper plane that is hybrid between a plan & a rocket. Hyperplane does not need any special infrastructure as it can use existing airports to take-off & land. However, when it reaches a certain altitude, it will switch to its cryogenic rocket engine which will propel the plane to hypersonic speeds & reduce travel time between continents to a matter of hours.
The company was founded by Mikhail Kokorich, a serial entrepreneur with engineering, technical & organizational skills. The company currently has a team of over 50 engineers & managers who previously worked at Arianespace, Boeing, Airbus, Dassault, RollsRoyce & other major aerospace companies. It plans to increase its team size to 100 this year to ramp up its research & development efforts and begin flight testing.
In the short duration of its existence, the company has already developed unique subsystems, such as active cooling system for its hyper plane & patented it as-well, press release claims.
The concept was supported by various risk funds from around the world and the company wishes to use this funding to develop its hydrogen air breathing rocket engines & conduct supersonic test flights in the upcoming next 18 months.
The chairman of the company’s advisory board is the former Minister of Economics and Technology & Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Philipp Rosler. A passionate pilot himself, Rosler said, “It’s breathtaking to-see a future in which a travel will be available all over the world in 1 to 2 hours. The hyper plane under development will use liquid hydrogen to power its engines. This offers the great opportunity to fly fast & be carbon neutral at the same time. I am delighted that companies like Destinus will be able-to provide European leadership in aerospace sector.