EU project to develop first fuel-cell aircraft

Jun 01, 2007

Designing the first fuel-cell manned intercity aircraft is the goal of a recently launched EU-funded project.

The Environmentally Friendly Inter City Aircraft powered by Fuel Cells (ENFICA-FC) project is receiving €2.9 million from the EU as part of the aeronautics and space priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The Polytechnic of Turin is leading the project, the goal of which is to develop an intercity aircraft that uses fuel cell technology for the propulsion system, and hydrogen storage.

In addition, these technologies will also be developed to replace on-board electrical systems with larger 'more-electric' or 'all-electric' aircraft.

'No other project funded by the European Commission promises such ambitious results,' says the coordinator of the project, the Full Professor of Airplane Design and Aerospace Structures from the Turin Polytechnic University, Romeo Giulio.

'Hydrogen and fuel cell power technologies have now reached the point where they can be exploited to initiate a new era of propulsion systems for light aircraft and small commuter aircraft,' according to Professor Giulio.

The advantages of deploying these technologies will be low noise and low emissions - features which are particularly important for commuter aeroplanes, which usually take off and land in urban areas.

The possibility to take off and land without contravening the noise abatement regulations set for small airfields, in urban areas and near population centres, will allow the use of airfields late at night, when noise regulations are the most stringent.

The fuel cell system will be installed in selected aircraft, which will be flight and performance tested as a proof-of-concept for future applicability in other inter-city aircraft.

The results of the ambitious project will be presented at both on-ground and in-flight public events at the end of the three year research project.

The EU is providing two-thirds of the funding for the project, and is keen to see the development of fuel cell technology as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

Source: CORDIS

Explore further: Autonomous taxis would deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, new study shows

Related Stories

Solar Impulse reaches half way in Japan-US leg

1 hour ago

A solar-powered aircraft flying between Japan and Hawaii as part of a round-the-world bid passed the halfway point of the perilous Pacific Ocean crossing Wednesday, and smashed its own endurance record.

Engineering atoms inside the jet engine

Jun 29, 2015

The Periodic Table may not sound like a list of ingredients but, for a group of materials scientists, it's the starting point for designing the perfect chemical make-up of tomorrow's jet engines.

Solar Impulse Japan take off postponed

Jun 24, 2015

A solar-powered plane on a mission to fly around the world was back in its mobile hangar Wednesday, after take off from Japan was postponed at the 11th hour because of bad weather over the Pacific Ocean.

Recommended for you

Vehicle fuel economy down, emissions up

32 minutes ago

Gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. slipped last month, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

A bridge to better batteries

35 minutes ago

A major automaker came to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently wanting to better understand battery degradation. After many months of intense collaborative research with a Berkeley Lab battery scientist, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.