The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft suitable for passenger transport, developed in Hungarian-American cooperation, was unveiled in Jakabszállás, Bács-Kiskun County on Wednesday.

At a press conference held at Jakabszállás Airport, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics told reporters: “The hydrogen economy is one of the foundations of climate protection”.

The Minister reminded those present that the development of the Hungarian hydrogen economy is included as a separate chapter in the Hungarian Energy and Climate Strategy presented this Tuesday, in view of the fact that the artificial intelligence, Industry 4.0 and 5G technological platforms will soon be joined by a fourth platform, which will fundamental mean the platform of the hydrogen economy. “The automotive industry continued to be the flagship of the Hungarian economy, but as a result of the investment projects and legislative and professional decisions of recent years, the aeronautical industry has also embarked on major development”, he added.

According to Mr. Palkovics, the newly unveiled drone technology conforms to all three future expectations with relation to the Hungarian economy, since it is “high-tech, green and Hungarian”.

As he explained, the development is high-tech in view of the fact that the aeronautical industry is in continuous transformation, and the importance of drones will be increasing in the upcoming period. “This is also evident from the fact that the European Union has drawn up its drone regulations, which will also be made active in Hungary from July of this year”, he added.

“The Zalaegerszeg test track established for the testing of self-driven vehicles is also perfectly suited to testing drones and their interaction with vehicles travelling on land”, the Minister emphasised.

“The newly unveiled project is green, in view of the fact that it uses hydrogen power cell-driven technology, and the hydrogen isn’t generated using the usual, chemical industry method, meaning is isn’t brown hydrogen, but is green hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, and thus fundamentally conforms to the government’s strategy”, Mr. Palkovics highlighted.

“The government would like Hungarian enterprises to also catch up to the high-tech orientated, efficient foreign business structure, one of the methods of which is to increase productivity, which can be achieved via either training the workforce or the technological support of enterprises”, the Minister emphasised.

“The Air Transport and Aviation Council was established last year, the two tasks of which are to develop the innovative elements for the optimal functioning of air transport, and the drawing up of a strategy to help the aeronautical industry catch up to the automotive industry”, he pointed out.

“The restructuring of aeronautical training has also begun: a new masters course in aeroplane operation, maintenance and repair was recently authorised at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and according to plan a newly independent aeronautical engineering department will also be established. In future, development projects will also involve the universities of Kecskemét and Debrecen”, he explained.

He also reported on the fact that a new, mid-level aeroplane technician training course will soon be launched at the Békéscsaba Vocational Training Centre as a pilot project, with the support of Airbus teaching materials. “We have developed intensive, daily contact with the European Aviation Authority. One of the elements of this cooperation concerns the further development of the Zalaegerszeg test track”, Mr. Palkovics told reporters.

“In addition, an air transport research centre has been established within the Transport Science Institute, the task of which is the development of Hungary’s aeronautical industry strategy”, the Minister continued.

At the event, Managing Director of Valor Hungariae Zrt. István Lepsényi highlighted that the company’s task is for not a single Hungarian invention, idea, new thought or development idea to be lost, but for all of them to be developed into a marketable product.

“Valor plays an important role in the realisation of national economic efforts aimed at the effective utilization of innovations, with particular emphasis on the fact that the Hungarian economy and Hungarian inventors should profit from the successful development and placing on the market of Hungarian inventions. Within this, one of the priority areas is the realisation of Hungarian climate strategy goals, including the development of alternative, hydrogen-driven transport and logistics”, Mr. Lepsényi said.

As he explained, Hungarian creativity is outstanding even at international level, and accordingly the goal of Valor is to utilize this to realise the launch of production of as many high added value and innovative products as possible in Hungary.

At the press conference, Managing Director of Genevation Aircraft Ltd. Viktor Szabó highlighted the fact that when the company was established in 2014, it set as its goal to successful apply the knowledge it had accumulated during the construction of its first product, the world’s first hybrid, lattice structured Genpro sport aircraft, in international research and development projects and partnerships, and later within international supply activities.

“The company’s experts were given the honour of being chosen by American Alaka’i Technologies Inc. to be their European partner for the production of the world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft”, he emphasised. “Genevation’s work has already begun, in view of the fact that we have already been working on the development project for almost four months”, he added.