The Bankstown-based AMSL Aero was founded in 2017 by aeronautical engineer Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon and has the backing of some major financiers, including IP Group Australia, Telstra Super, Host Plus and the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.
It has already developed a battery electric e-VTOL aircraft called Vertiia, but Moore says this is limited in range to “urban mobility”, and hydrogen fuel cell technology is needed to cover the vast distances of regional Australia.
“If you want to fly for 20 minutes, then battery electric craft are probably ok,” Moore tells RenewEconomy. “But if you want to have people on board, you have to have an energy reserve, and that makes it really hard. Batteries don’t have the energy density.”
Moore says hydrogen and fuel cell technologies will boost the range of the Vertiia electric aircraft from around 250 kms to 1,000 kms, and make it suitable for air ambulance and other emergency services. It will be able to carry five people.
He says battery electric VTOL aircraft will be useful for “urban mobility”, ferrying people or goods for tens of kilometres – once the technology gets approval to operate in these environments.
Hydrogen aircraft, Moore says, will be able to serve both urban and regional areas. And he imagines a day – not so far away – where they become a central part of transport to the regions. “You won’t spend an hour in the taxi getting to the airport, and then waiting there for another hour. You will just hop in the aircraft in town and go.”