Power solutions

Power solutions

Hydrogen propulsion, whether through fuel cells or combustion, represents a highly promising and still unexploited pathway for the global aviation industry to achieve its ambitious net zero emissions targets.

Drawing on its expertise in complex system design, integration and certification, and over four decades of fuel system development experience, Marshall is uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of hydrogen fuel systems for aircraft.

In March 2024, Marshall and a group of leading UK aerospace and R&D organisations announced the establishment of HyFIVE, a consortium that will develop a world-leading hydrogen fuel system and supply chain supporting zero-emission aviation in the 2030s.

HyFIVE combines the expertise of industry partners Marshall, GKN Aerospace and Parker Meggitt, while specialised R&D will be conducted by the University of Manchester, the University of Bath and Cardiff University.

The consortium will receive initial funding of nearly £40 million, with an investment of £17 million from industry to be matched with £20 million from government. The project is supported by the ATI Programme, a partnership between Department for Business and Trade, Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK (UKRI).

“HyFIVE is another win for our world-leading aerospace sector, cementing the UK’s position at the forefront of zero emissions technology and taking the UK to new heights in the pursuit of cleaner, greener air travel.”

Nusrat Ghani

UK Industry Minister

Pioneering zero-emission flight

The overarching objective of the HyFIVE consortium is to develop, test and validate a modular, scalable cryogenic hydrogen fuel system architecture that is suitable for multiple aircraft classes and compatible with either hydrogen electric propulsion or hydrogen combustion powertrains.

Specifically, the collaboration will cover five key aspects of technology development for hydrogen fuel systems: storage, conveyance, indication, fuelling and venting.

The HyFIVE consortium members have defined a full technical programme spanning several years, starting with initial architecture development and supplier engagement and running all the way through to ground testing and final design review for the integrated fuel system.

By 2027 the consortium plans to have:

  • developed and validated an integrated family of mature fuel system technologies and capabilities conducive to certification;
  • conducted ground demonstration (TRL 6) of an integrated fuel system encompassing the storage, conveyance, indication, venting and fuelling systems;
  • opened a range of flight demonstration and exploitation paths with prospective customers; and; developed a customer-ready supply chain and industrialisation strategy.

Timely achievement of these objectives will support the successful introduction of a new generation of zero emissions aircraft in the 2030s.

Building on complementary strengths

The HyFIVE collaboration is structured to take advantage of each industry partner’s unique capabilities.

Marshall will bring to the consortium its expertise in complex system design, integration and certification, honed through decades of delivering aircraft fuel systems and complex aircraft modification projects.

GKN Aerospace, which specialises in the design, manufacture and assembly of aircraft structures, engine components and systems, will contribute its industry-leading advanced materials and hydrogen cryogenic system optimisation knowhow.

Parker Meggitt, now part of the Parker Aerospace Group within Parker Hannifin, will lead on aspects of the collaboration related to sensing, thermal management, and fluid conveyance, drawing on its broad suite of solutions and capabilities for aircraft and aeroengine components and systems.

The consortium’s three UK academic partners - the University of Manchester, University of Bath, and Cardiff university - have been selected for their world-leading research capabilities and advanced testing facilities in areas such as hydrogen-electric propulsion, cryogenic applications, power transmission, turbomachinery and next-generation material development.

Furthermore, the project will develop a supply chain of SMEs to undertake more specialised challenges around testing, engineering support and component development, supporting UK industry while also laying the groundwork for future supply chain capability development.