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Honeywell Launches Disruptive Research on Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Aircraft

Honeywell Launches Disruptive Research on Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Aircraft

  •  Honeywell-led European consortium will develop an aerospace-qualified megawatt-class fuel cell propulsion system powered by hydrogen

BRNO, Czech Republic, Jan. 30, 2023 – A consortium led by Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) met recently to launch a European Clean Aviation project that will develop a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells for the aviation industry. Project NEWBORN will involve multidisciplinary collaboration between 18 partners from 10 European countries to develop an aerospace-qualified megawatt-class fuel cell propulsion system powered by hydrogen.

Green hydrogen, the term given to hydrogen produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity, is an extremely clean power source that can be used to propel future aircraft, which makes it appealing as the aerospace sector works to reduce carbon emissions. The megawatt-class fuel cell propulsion system delivered by NEWBORN will give birth to future, sustainable aviation beyond a megawatt. The final demonstrator will be integrated and tested by Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, a Slovene-based disruptive general aviation manufacturer.

“Achieving aviation’s transformation to climate-neutral requires a comprehensive arsenal of disruptive solutions that will bring momentous gains in aircraft energy efficiency coupled with low- or zero-carbon energy sources,” said Axel Krein, executive director of Clean Aviation. “With the launch of NEWBORN we can kick-start the necessary work to drive a step-change in aircraft performance and deliver EU Green Deal ambitions for net-zero flight.”

“Our priority is creating realistic solutions to make flying sustainable. NEWBORN is pushing the boundaries of current hydrogen fuel cell research by establishing a hydrogen hybrid powertrain that employs Pipistrel’s batteries with liquid hydrogen-powered fuel cells at megawatt levels,” said Tine Tomažič, chief technology officer, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions. “It’s an honor to be working alongside our industry partners on a project that opens up truly exciting possibilities.”

“Honeywell is dedicated to helping our customers achieve environmental targets through technologies that make our world more sustainable and better connected,” said Kurt Shewfelt, senior director, Breakthrough Technology Initiatives, Honeywell Aerospace. “We are proud to work with our project partners on innovative, new technology that will help integrate hydrogen propulsion on commercial aircraft and contribute to a more sustainable future for aviation.”  

Work on NEWBORN will be performed at the Honeywell Technology Solutions research and development center in Brno, Czech Republic, and at other Honeywell and project-partner sites across Europe.

Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking, the European Union’s research and innovation program for transforming aviation toward a sustainable and climate-neutral future, will fund €700 million over 20 selected groundbreaking sustainability projects in response to its first Call for Proposals for disruptive technology research to power the climate-neutral aircraft of the future. Project NEWBORN was the No. 1 ranked project in the first Call for Proposals, receiving the highest score by the selection committee.

For more information about Honeywell and its innovative technology, visit        


About Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports. For more information, visit or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero.

Honeywell ( delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit


About Pipistrel 

Founded in 1989, Pipistrel is an award-winning light aircraft manufacturer and leader in research and development of electric propulsion. Pipistrel produces electric and combustion models for the general aviation, defense and advanced air mobility sectors. Pipistrel’s Velis Electro became the world’s first, and currently only, electric aircraft to receive full type-certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2020 and earned UK CAA type certification in 2022. 

Pipistrel’s pioneering work has been recognized through awards from NASA, IDC, and other organizations. The company, which offers a family of gliders and light aircraft with both electric and combustion engines, has delivered more than 2,500 light aircraft worldwide since its founding and additionally has both hybrid and electric propulsion models under development. Pipistrel includes the following companies: PIPISTREL d.o.o., PIPISTREL VERTICAL SOLUTIONS d.o.o and PIPISTREL ITALIA SRL. For more information, visit: 


About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:


Forward Looking Information Statement

Certain statements in this press release may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update them. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; the timing of our new product launches or certifications of our new aircraft products; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers.  

About Textron Inc.


Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking is the European Union’s leading research and innovation program for transforming aviation toward a sustainable and climate-neutral future. Pulling together the best talent and capabilities of the private and public sectors and developing cutting-edge technologies and making these available for a transformational leap in aircraft performance in the 2030s, the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking will pave the way toward the EU’s ambition of climate neutrality by 2050. Operating at the center of a broad and diverse ecosystem of players across Europe ranging from the aeronautical community, pioneering SMEs, research establishments and academia, it acts as a hub for new ideas and bold innovations.

As a European public-private partnership, Clean Aviation pushes aeronautical science beyond the limits of imagination by creating new technologies that will significantly reduce aviation’s impact on the planet, enabling future generations to enjoy the social and economic benefits of air travel far into the future. More at

Juliet Collins-Achong
Communications Specialist, EMEA