‘La Tribune’, a French weekly financial newspaper, revealed in an article that the start-up founded by Olivier Savin (former Dassault employee) has the ambition to produce hundreds of small hydrogen-powered planes in Toulouse.
Olivier Savin is well known at Hydrogen Today. Although he founded his company merely two years ago he intends to have four-seater plane fly solely on hydrogen as early as 2026.
“My 25 year-long experience have been determining to imagine the ideal aircraft. From the outset, I preferred to distribute the power propulsion in the form of twelve small motors spread over the two wings of the aircraft rather than having a single electric motor powered by a large fuel cell that receives the hydrogen” he explains. This technical choice means that the plane can keep flying even if eight out of twelve engines failed. Since the fuel cell provides three times more energy than a battery, these small planes will be able to fly up to 700 kilometres at 230 km/h with three hours of autonomy.
The newspaper revealed that a team of 15 people is working on the development of the future aircraft, half of whom are young graduates from Isae-Supaéro but also senior engineers who have worked for the big names in aeronautics. Blue Spirit Aero will test the various components of the future aircraft before the first experimental flight, scheduled for the end of 2024. The company will first test its fuel cell on an aerobatic plane belonging to the Basque company Aéro Mécanic’s with the support of the Occitanie Region. Finally, by the end of the year, the start-up should be flying a small-scale model with a three-metre wingspan and remote control via a partnership with the drone manufacturer Delair. ‘La Tribune’ also cites the CEA and Onera as partners.
Blue Spirit Aero’s future aircraft will be manufactured near Toulouse. The company will fit in the future hydrogen campus that will be built at the heart of the Francazal airport. The objective is to produce 10 aircraft per year by 2025 and up to 200 by 2030. Aeroclubs are the destined targets for sales. Of the 250,000 existing aircraft in this range, Olivier Savin think that there will be a need to renew 1,500 to 2,000 aircraft per year. These aircraft will be used to train new pilots.
Finally, Blue Spirit Aero is about to complete its first round of financing and plans to raise funds in the first quarter of 2023.
Article written by Laurent Meillaud, translated by Logan King and reviewed by Marina Leite.