Fokker Next Gen is seriously considering it
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the glory days and decline of Fokker, once the largest aircraft factory in the world that was declared bankrupt in 1996. A few months ago it was announced that one of the companies that emerged from the bankrupt aircraft maker, Fokker Next Gen, is working on developing a sustainable, emission-free hydrogen-powered aircraft. That aircraft is, not entirely surprising, a further development of the aircraft manufacturer’s last really successful aircraft, the Fokker 100.
Fokker Next Gen wants to build aircraft in the Netherlands
This week it was announced that Fokker Next Gen is considering producing the hydrogen aircraft in the Netherlands. To this end, the aircraft manufacturer is looking for a location – with sufficient expansion opportunities – near Eelde in Drenthe, near Groningen Airport (the former Eelde airport). Fokker Next Gen does this in collaboration with the airport. It is clear that an airport near an aircraft factory is indispensable. This makes carrying out tests and test flights a lot more accessible.
The parties will jointly conduct a feasibility study in the coming period. If this shows that an aircraft factory in the Netherlands is indeed viable, then the time when the Netherlands will have its own aircraft factory again will come a lot closer.
Fokker Next Gen wants to produce approximately 150 hydrogen aircraft per year, as the flag currently states. The factory in the Netherlands should account for about half of this. The aircraft factory would create approximately 1,900 full-time jobs by 2035.
First H2 aircraft in 2035
For the development of the hydrogen aircraft, Fokker Next Gen is collaborating with Rolls Royce, one of the market leaders when it comes to the development and production of engines for jet aircraft. If everything goes according to plan, the first hydrogen-powered ‘Fokker 100’ should come onto the market in 2035. That will take at least more than 11 years, but the development of an aircraft is certainly no easy task.
By comparison, the development of the Airbus A380 took almost 17 years from idea to first flight. Of course, Fokker Next Gen does not have to develop a completely new aircraft because they are based on the Fokker 100. But there are plenty of challenges. Particularly in the area of propulsion: hydrogen instead of kerosene.
About fifteen parties recently signed one declaration of intent in which they agreed to collaborate for the development of a green hydrogen infrastructure at Groningen Airport Eelde.
Fokker Next Gen is certainly not the only aircraft manufacturer worldwide working on the development of zero-emission aircraft. Together with AeroDelft, Airbus has been investigating the possibility and what it would take to have passenger aircraft fly on hydrogen for some time.
Earlier this year, the largest hydrogen-powered aircraft to date, a converted Dash-8, made a successful fifteen-minute test flight. This aircraft normally has a capacity of 40 passengers. Due to the space required to have enough hydrogen on board for the fifteen-minute flight, half of the aircraft had to serve as a hydrogen tank.
Just to indicate what challenges Fokker Next Gen still has to overcome before an aircraft for up to 100 passengers – the Fokker 100 – and a range of 2,500 kilometers, zooms through the air completely emission-free on hydrogen.
Pictures: Breeder Next Gen