Dronamics has received a 2.5 million euro (US $2.63 million) grant from the European Innovation Council (EIC) to develop its cargo drone airline.
The grant will be used toward the deployment of the first droneports in Europe and the rollout of its operations in 2023, Dronamics told Cargo Facts.
The funding was announced shortly after Dronamics unveiled its plans to produce a hydrogen fuel cell variant of its Black Swan drone.
The Black Swan is a fixed-wing aircraft powered by a Rotax engine, similar to that found in many general aviation aircraft. The drone can carry a payload of 350 kg at ranges of 1,349 nautical miles.
In partnership with aerospace and defense company Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Limited (CAeS), Dronamics plans to develop its hydrogen-powered Black Swan alongside its synthetic fuel partnership as part of a diversification strategy with the goal to be at net-zero emissions, the drone manufacturer told Cargo Facts.
The aircraft will likely run on conventional fuel, synthetic fuel and hydrogen as part of its own fleet, according to Dronamics.
The drone manufacturer announced in October a partnership with Zero Petroleum to purchase “Zero Synavgas” fuel, a sustainable, fossil-free direct replacement produced from hydrogen and carbon using a process called “petrosynthesis.”
In general aviation uses, Rotax does not recommend the use of conventional 100LL aviation gasoline for some of its engines that are used to power piston-driven aircraft.
Dronamics in May was awarded a European Union Light Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Operator Certificate from Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate after the company selected Malta as its first European operational base for its middle-mile cargo drone airline.
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