Stralis Aircraft secures funding to make commercial hydrogen planes a reality

Stralis Aircraft secures funding to make commercial hydrogen planes a reality

Brisbane-based Stralis Aircraft has become one step closer to its ambition of operating the first piloted hydrogen-electric flight in the Southern Hemisphere after securing funding from the government to support test flights of its ‘Bonnie’ plane in 2025.

The funding will allow the company to convert its conventional single-engine Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, known as ‘Bonnie’, into a 200kW Hydrogen-Electric (H-E) aircraft to demonstrate the capabilities of zero-carbon emissions propulsion technology.

Stralis aims to get the plane up in the skies by 2025, making it the first piloted hydrogen-electric flight in the Southern Hemisphere.

The small aircraft is a test platform, paving the way for the retrofit of a 15-seat Beech 1900D aircraft intended for the first passenger flights between Brisbane Airport and Gladstone Airport, operated by launch customer Skytrans.

Stralis is one of 12 recipients to receive a grant via the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships (EATP) Program – a government initiative that has committed $30.5 million for two grant rounds over four years until mid-2026.

“We are proud to be contributing to aviation innovation in Australia from our base at Brisbane Airport in Queensland,” Stralis co-founder and CEO Bob Criner said.

“This support indicates the Australian Federal Government's belief in a #FutureMadeInAustralia across clean-tech, clean energy, aerospace and aircraft manufacturing.”

Stralis is also part of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) which launched at Brisbane Airport over a year ago. The alliance aims to ensure Australia plays a leading role in the aviation industry’s transition towards net-zero by 2050 and to develop the green hydrogen flight ecosystem required to enable the operation of new Australian-made emission-free aircraft.

Other HFA partners to receive capital in the recent funding round include NSW-based AMSL Aero and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), with five of the 12 grant recipients based in Queensland.

Another company making progress in space is Melbourne-based electric motor developer Kite Magnetics, which teamed up with French hydrogen fuel cell developer H3 Dynamics to test the compatibility of its technology to create hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Meanwhile, others like FlyOnE are optimistic about making electric planes a viable alternative for regional short-haul routes.

“We congratulate the Australian government on throwing its support behind this exciting company, based right here at Brisbane Airport,” Brisbane Airport executive general manager of governance and sustainability Raechel Paris said.

“Stralis is aiming to deliver cleaner, cheaper, quieter aircraft, helping to decarbonise aviation.

“Brisbane Airport is proud to provide its support to Stralis as a founding member of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance.”

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