Universal Hydrogen and JAL to bring hydrogen-powered flight to Japan

A Universal Hydrogen test aircraft in flight.
Photo Credit: Universal Hydrogen

Universal Hydrogen has entered a strategic collaboration with Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) and JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. (JALEC).

This partnership, stemming from the March 2023 joint venture to explore green hydrogen supply and logistics solutions for Japanese airlines, signifies a further step in introducing hydrogen-powered flights to Japan.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the three entities aims not only to propel JAL into a global leadership position in operating true zero-carbon-emissions passenger aircraft, but also to revolutionize the regional aviation landscape.

Universal Hydrogen Acknowledgement

Rod Williams, Chief Commercial Officer of Universal Hydrogen, expressed the company’s honor in being selected among JAL’s sustainability partners.

He highlighted the rigorous evaluation process undertaken by JAL and JALEC, emphasizing that Universal Hydrogen stands alongside major global airlines interested in adopting its ATR retrofit conversion kit solution.

This innovative solution is set to replace regional fleets, aligning with JAL’s commitment to sustainability.

Technical Collaboration for Hydrogen-Powered Flight

The MoU outlines a collaborative effort between JAL, JALEC, and Universal Hydrogen to contribute their expertise to the technical design and development of conversion kits.


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This initiative extends to shaping the entire hydrogen value chain in Japan. JAL’s emphasis on reliability and maintainability in regional operations complements Universal Hydrogen’s ongoing work with investors Sojitz and Mitsubishi HC Capital Inc.

Together, they have dedicated significant resources to explore green hydrogen supply and logistics solutions, intending to scale the utilization of hydrogen-powered aircraft in the near term.

Pioneering Green Aviation in Japan

Japan has demonstrated a robust appetite for green aviation solutions, with JAL standing as one of the world’s most established airlines.

Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, commended JAL’s technical standards and reliability, expressing pride in the partnership despite Universal Hydrogen’s early stage of development.

A Universal Hydrogen test aircraft in Mojave CA.
Photo Credit: Universal Hydrogen

The collaborative efforts focus on identifying, evaluating, and qualifying local hydrogen suppliers and partners, encompassing hydrogen production, module filling, and delivery operations.

Ryo Tamura, President of JAL Engineering Co., Ltd., echoed the sentiment of shared goals between JAL, JALEC, and Universal Hydrogen.

This partnership represents a crucial first step in realizing hydrogen-powered flight in Japan, leveraging the company’s advanced technology.

Through this collaboration, JAL and JALEC aim to lead and contribute to safe and sustainable aviation in Japan.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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