Universal Hydrogen, which was trying to develop workable systems to power aircraft with hydrogen, has folded after burning through about $100 million in investor capital. The Seattle Times is reporting the company sent a memo to shareholders on Thursday saying there was no way forward for the start-up. “We were unable to secure sufficient equity or debt financing to continue operations and similarly were unable to secure an actionable offer for a sale of the business or similar strategic exit transaction,” the Times quoted the memo from CEO Mark Cousin.

The company did have some breakthroughs. It configured a Dash-8 so that one engine ran on hydrogen and the other ran on JetA and it flew once in 2023 with considerable fanfare. Getting airborne was just one challenge, however. Hydrogen, while environmentally benign when burning, is difficult to handle and store and needs large amounts of electricity to produce. Universal was working on modular fuel storage cells and sourcing hydrogen from green sources. Cousin said he hopes the strides made by Universal will inform future efforts. “We are deeply proud of the work the team has done to create the first commercially viable hydrogen aviation ecosystem,” Cousins wrote. “It is our sincere hope that these efforts will live on as part of a future entity.”

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