Airbus is to present its fuel cell activities the first time onboard an A320 research aircraft at this year’s International Berlin Airshow (ILA). Fuel cells are one of the most promising “step change” technologies and Airbus sees high potential in fuel cell applications towards a further significant reduction of emissions, fuel consumption and external noise. The research is part of Airbus’ efforts towards eco-efficiency.
Before taking course to Berlin, the A320 Fuel Cell Demonstrator aircraft successfully performed another fuel cell test. During the flight over a dedicated test area in France, a further improved fuel cell system provided power for the aircraft’s electric motor pump, which is connected to the blue hydraulic circle and successfully moved the aircraft’s ailerons, rudder and other flight control systems.
The test flight was part of Airbus’ ongoing research activities to evaluate the potential use and environmental benefits of fuel cell technology. The improved fuel cell system is more robust and delivers a higher peak performance (more than 20 Kilo Watts of electrical power) to cover higher loads. It also is able to deliver instantly full electrical power in low operating temperatures.
The A320 Fuel Cell Demonstrator will be part of the Airbus static display at the ILA from May 27 to May 29.
A fuel cell is a device, which transforms the energy contained in hydrogen and oxygen into electricity by a “cold” combustion. The exhaust products are pure water and heat. Fuel cells produce electricity in a cleaner, more efficient way than combustion engines. In addition, the by-product water can be used for the aircraft’s water and waste system, which saves weight and therefore reduces fuel consumption and emissions.
The fuel cell project demonstrated at ILA is a close cooperation between Michelin, DLR and Airbus to drive the fuel technology on civil aircraft forward.