Hydroplane, founded by USC alum Anita Sengupta, receives Minority Emerging Technology and Industries Firm of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
When Anita Sengupta (M.S. ‘00, PhD ‘05) is 10,000 feet up in the air, engaged in her favorite hobby of flying single-engine aircraft, she’s in her element.
“At that height, you can really witness the beauty of the landscape – how everything is connected,” said Sengupta. “The desert is connected to the mountains, is connected to the ocean. It gives you a broader understanding of our capacity to impact our environment, for better or worse. Flight is beautiful – and I believe that flight can also be carbon emission free.”
Sengupta’s ecological consciousness inspired her to found her own company, Hydroplane, with the ambitious goal of de-carbonizing aviation. Her team of scientists and engineers is applying the principles of electric propulsion to develop and build a 200-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell powerplant that will enable sustainable flight – and a paradigm shift in the quest for new sources of renewable fuel.
A scalable solution
The beauty of this solution is that it can be scaled for multiple forms of vehicle including single-engine aircraft, helicopters and regional aircraft, as well as potential use for the marine sector and heavy-duty ground transportation. Not only are these sectors major sources of emissions – they also involve logistical systems that cannot accommodate the extra payload of heavy batteries, further demonstrating the value of liquid hydrogen as a fuel source.