Airbus is cooperating with Parker Aerospace (Hall 5 D203) to explore ways to improve the efficiency of fuel cells for aviation applications such as on-board power generation. The objective is to develop a technology demonstrator, which will be followed by a flight-test campaign around the middle of the decade.
Airbus will be responsible for the overall aircraft system architecture and technology integration into the aircraft, while Parker will supply the fuel-cell system.
The airframer and other industrial partners tested a fuel-cell system on an aircraft in 2008, an activity that has led to Airbus exploring the possibility of replacing and aircraft’s auxiliary power unit with a multifunctional fuel cell. This could provide aircraft electrical consumers, such as cabin lighting, when the engines are not running.
Airbus believes that this will enable “the replacement of ground power units leading to an emission-free ground operation and significantly reduced mission fuel consumption.”