Episode 124 - Fueling Flight With Hydrogen Technology

Zero emission aviation is the future—and Hydroplane is paving the way with affordable hydrogen fuel cell powerplant technology.

Founded by former NASA engineer Dr. Anita Sengupta, Hydroplane is focused on decarbonizing aviation for regional aircraft travel. As the winner of two U.S. Air Force Agility Prime contracts, Hydroplane’s team of space program-trained engineers have developed a drop-in hydrogen fuel cell powerplant solution designed to replace existing combustion powerplants in single engine and urban air mobility platforms. The result is lower cost and a significant improvement in range, endurance, and payload over battery power. Applications for this technology include flight training, commercial transportation, air taxi, cargo transportation, humanitarian aid, and government support.

As a minority woman small business owner, Anita feels a personal responsibility to share her growth journey, from working for the space program to moving into entrepreneurialism. She serves as an SAE Foundation Trustee to support the STEM mission and advance equitable access to high-quality, hands-on STEM programming, and she is also on the SAE H2 working group. Anita recently spoke to a group of high school women participating in the SAE A World in Motion® (AWIM®) Fuel Cell Challenge as part of the CalStateLA LAunchPad program.

We sat down with Anita to discuss her impressive career, her passion for decarbonizing air travel, and how she sees hydrogen fuel cell technology evolving over the next decade.

Meet Our Guest

CEO/Founder, Hydroplane Ltd.

Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, instrument rated pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program. After leaving NASA she moved into the high-tech transportation sector and led the development at Virgin Hyperloop. Her most recent entrepreneurial venture is as founder/CEO of Hydroplane Ltd., which is developing hydrogen fuel cell power plant technology for carbon emission free aviation. Dr. Sengupta is also Professor of Astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California were she teaches and is researching and technologies for the human exploration of Mars, earth re-entry vehicles, and boom-less supersonic flight. www.linkedin.com/in/anitasen

Our Host


Innovation Strategist & Co-Founder, Brulte & Company

Grayson Brulte is an autonomous mobility advisor and consultant who provides strategic counsel and political insights to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an SAE strategic partner since 2017, Grayson brings his in-depth industry knowledge to host SAE Tomorrow Today. His unique perspective factors in economics, politics and technology into one-of-kind weekly conversations with innovators changing mobility and its impact on society.

Grayson is a thought-leader who regularly provides insights to publications including Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Forbes. His written opinions and insights have been featured by organizations including the Consumer Technology Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

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