NCTCOG plans for 2 hydrogen stations in North Texas

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The AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone and Southern Dallas County Inland Port were identified as sites for two proposed hydrogen fueling stations in North Texas during a March 11 presentation.

What’s happening?

The North Central Texas Council of Governments was awarded $70 million in January to build five hydrogen fueling stations in Texas near DFW, Houston, San Antonio and Waco. The stations will create a hydrogen fueling network for medium- to heavy-duty freight trucks.

Stations are planned for the innovation zone and inland port areas, Air Quality Planner Joslyn Billings said during the NCTCOG meeting. Seven other potential sites have been identified throughout the Texas Triangle, according to the presentation.

“We’ll be selecting the rest of the stations from the potential ones near Houston, San Antonio and Waco to complete and fill in that triangle,” Billings said.

Staff have already begun coordinating with local governments in the project areas, but they are at the beginning of the contracting process, she said.

What they’re saying

Laura Freeland, executive director of the Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association, said in an email they were excited to have one of the fueling stations built at the port.

“The location of a hydrogen fueling station in the DCIP will help transition freight transport from conventional diesel fuel to zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell technology,” she said.

Freeland said the grant was particularly impactful because it was secured for refueling stations across the triangle.

“Given the amount of truck traffic that passes through the Texas Triangle, securing fueling stations for the entire area helps trucking companies make the investment to convert to hydrogen,” she said.

Also of note

The NCTCOG was also awarded $15 million to build up to 100 electric vehicle charging ports across the region. At least half of those chargers will be built in disadvantaged communities known as Justice40 areas. Staff will also emphasize adding charging ports to rural communities excluded from other funding opportunities, Billings said.

Other grant projects include:

Partnering with Oncor and DFW Airport to develop an electric vehicle charging plan for the region focused on power failure: awarded $1.5 million

Repairing or replacing existing nonoperational charging stations in the region: awarded $3.6 million

Manna Drone Delivery Launches in U.S. with Texas Trick-or-Treaters

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Cold, dreary weather is always a threat to derail Halloween festivities, as was the case in Dallas-Fort Worth this year. But for trick-or-treaters in one of the area’s neighborhoods, drones came to the rescue.

“We are taking Halloween to new heights with a fun new way for kids to trick or treat—especially when the weather isn’t very Halloween compatible,” said Andrew Patton, the head of Ireland-based Manna Drone Delivery’s U.S. business.

On Tuesday, Manna drones flew chocolate, candies, and other sweet treats straight to the doorsteps of clamoring children (and adults) in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Northlake. The Halloween-themed deliveries marked the company’s official U.S. launch, first teased in March.

But Manna, which is backed by Coca-Cola HBC and operates one of Europe’s largest drone delivery services, will deliver more than just Kit Kats and Sour Patch Kids.

“After over four years of operations and over 150,000 flights logged in Europe, we are excited to be touching down in the United States to offer the residents of Dallas-Fort Worth a lightning-quick and sustainable home delivery service,” said Patton.

Patton brings some traditional aviation expertise to the table—the Manna executive holds a commercial pilot’s license with 1,900 hours of flight time and multiple jet type ratings. He flies a Yakovlev Yak-50 aerobatic airplane whenever time permits.

Moving forward, residents of Northlake’s Pecan Square community will be able to order drinks and food (including more chocolate and candy) from local retailers Farmhouse Coffee & Treasures and The Touring Chocolatier, as well as from a few “notable national brands.”

The service will run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, delivering items in less than three minutes on average, Manna said. Patton told FLYING the company plans to deliver to the yards of all 1,600 households in Pecan Square, rolling out service with a “staggered” approach.

According to the company’s website, when an order is placed through its app, Manna drones take off from a delivery hub, flying at 60 mph (52 knots) at a height of around 200 feet. When they arrive above the customer’s yard, the drones descend to about 100 feet, lowering packages gently to the ground using a tether. That allows it to deliver delicate items such as eggs.

Manna claims that when its drones are soaring at their cruising altitude, they’re perceived as silent by people on the ground. And when descending to complete a delivery, the company describes the aircraft’s buzzing as inaudible to customers indoors.

To kick off its U.S. launch, Manna also partnered with the local Tarrant Area Food Bank, which provides close to a million meals per week to North Texans. The company will make a donation for every flight it conducts this year.


The Start of Something Bigger?

While Pecan Square is Manna’s first and only U.S. drone delivery service area, it’s unlikely to be the last.

Pecan Square was developed by Hillwood Communities and is located near the company’s AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ). The MIZ aims to test and scale drone delivery and unmanned aircraft technologies in a real-world environment.

Manna’s Dallas-Fort Worth launch came a few months after it and Hillwood announced the beginning of trials at the MIZ, with the ultimate goal of offering drone delivery to “a select number of Hillwood’s residential developments.”

The implication is that Pecan Square is only the first site. Per that announcement, Manna plans to eventually offer its service to more than 10,000 local residents.

“Hillwood is the premier developer of best-in-class residential communities in Texas,” Patton told FLYING. “Hillwood’s legacy of technology-forward communities and its investment in next-generation autonomous transportation technology through the AllianceTexas MIZ make it an extremely well-suited partner for Manna as we move into the U.S.”

Another major drone delivery player, Alphabet’s Wing, tested its service at the MIZ’s Flight Test Center in 2021. A year later, it launched a delivery hub at Hillwood’s Frisco Station mixed-use development in partnership with Walgreens. Bell Textron has also demonstrated drone package delivery at the AllianceTexas site.

“Drone deliveries are here to stay, and we’re leaning into this efficient and innovative delivery option,” Chris Ash, senior vice president of aviation business development at Hillwood and the leader of MIZ, told FLYING. “We will continue to build great relationships with more companies to further develop and commercialize this technology that reduces roadway congestion and emissions.”

In August, Wing expanded its Dallas-Fort Worth operations to a Walmart Supercenter in Frisco, which FLYING received an inside look at last month. Israel’s Flytrex has offered drone delivery in the DFW suburb of Granbury since 2022. And elsewhere in the state, Amazon Prime Air last year landed in College Station, adding prescription drone delivery to that service in October.

Manna, meanwhile, has primarily focused on growing domestic operations. Its largest markets are the Dublin suburb of Balbriggan and a few other locations in Ireland—per an interview with Forbes, it has completed thousands of flights per day in multiple Irish markets. According to CEO Bobby Healy, those services are one-tenth the cost of a human driver in a car.

Healy told Forbes the company’s philosophy is to target highly populated U.S. markets, drawing from its experience flying over urban densities of 10,000 people per square mile. Dallas-Fort Worth, one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S., appears to fit that bill. At the same time, Manna is eyeing an expansion into mainland Europe.

World-First: Trick Or Treat Takes To The Skies With Manna Drone Delivery

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FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In a world-first, Manna Drone Delivery, Europe’s largest and most-advanced drone delivery operator, took trick or treating to new heights – delivering candy to families in North Texas by drone. Given the incredibly wet weather the Dallas/Fort Worth area has been experiencing, kids can stay dry and still participate in the Halloween festivities.

Trick or treating kicked-off Manna Drone Delivery’s first US operations – where they’ll be delivering to residents at Pecan Square by Hillwood Communities. Residents will have the opportunity to order a range of food and beverages from both national and local retailers – including a wide selection of Halloween chocolates and candies.

After over four years of operations and over 150,000 flights logged in Europe, we are excited to be touching down in the United States to offer the residents of Dallas/Fort Worth a lightning-quick and sustainable home delivery service,” said Andrew Patton, Head of US for Manna Drone Delivery. “We are taking Halloween to new heights, with a fun new way for kids to trick or treat – especially when the weather isn’t very Halloween compatible!”

“We’re excited to see Manna commercialize drone delivery in the US at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone, bringing an innovative last-mile delivery solution to Pecan Square residents,” said Christopher Ash, senior vice president of aviation business development for Hillwood. “At Hillwood, we are a team collaborating to bring innovative supply chain technologies to North Texas and provide next-level amenities to the communities we reach.”

Manna is also partnering with the Tarrant Area Food Bank, which serves nearly 1 million meals a week to residents in North Texas, by making a donation for every flight conducted this year.

Service will be available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to members of the Pecan Square community. Select products and sweet treats from popular local retailers Farmhouse Coffee & Treasures, and The Touring Chocolatier, as well as some notable national brands, will be available for purchase.

To learn more about Manna’s drone delivery services, please visit

About Manna Drone Delivery

Manna is the world’s leading residential drone delivery provider, delivering goods quickly, affordably, and safely to customers homes on two continents. Our service operates in the highest population density of any drone delivery operations in the world, partnering with a range of businesses from global giants like Coca-Cola, Tesco and Samsung to dozens of local businesses, delivering goods to customers in just a few minutes.