This New Swiss Hypersonic Jet Is Aiming To Travel From Europe To Australia In Just 4 Hours

Currently, a regular passenger jet takes approximately 20 hours to fly from Europe to a destination like Australia. However, a Swiss start-up called Destinus is working on a hypersonic, hydrogen-powered passenger jet that aims to cut this journey time down to just over four hours.

The company has been testing its prototype aircraft, named Eiger, for the past couple of years and announced successful test flights of its second prototype at the end of 2022.

Now, Destinus has announced its participation in a programme run by Spain’s Ministry of Science, which is part of the Spanish government’s plan to develop hydrogen-powered supersonic flights.

The project has been selected as a strategic initiative under the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial’s Plan de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas (PTA), which is overseeing the ministry’s programme. The project has an overall investment of €12 million and involves various companies, technology centres, and Spanish universities.

“We are delighted to have been awarded these grants, especially because they are a clear sign that Destinus is aligned with the strategic lines of Spain and Europe to advance hydrogen flight,” Davide Bonetti, VP Business Development and Products for Destinus, said.

“For deep tech companies like us, access to these EU recovery funds is essential to carry out advanced research and accelerate the innovation needed to be competitive on a global scale. With these grants, hydrogen-based solutions for aeronautical mobility will be one step closer to becoming a reality”.

With its green credentials, hydrogen power has become a subject of significant research and development. When hydrogen is combusted, the main byproducts are heat and water, but the amount of heat generated presents a design challenge.

Recently, researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne developed 3D printed catalysts that can address this challenge. These catalysts can power hypersonic flight and act as a cooling agent to combat the extreme heat generated when aircraft fly at speeds of around 6,100 kilometres per hour (km/h). With this technology, future commercial airlines could travel between London and New York in just 90 minutes.

Swiss start-up Destinus has also made strides in this area. The company claims that its technology will reduce the duration of flights significantly. For instance, a flight from Frankfurt to Sydney that currently takes 20 hours would only take 4 hours 15 minutes with Destinus’s technology. Similarly, a flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai that currently takes 10 hours and 45 minutes would only take 2 hours and 45 minutes.

This project is part of Spain’s larger efforts to lead the development and production of hydrogen-based mobility in various sectors.

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