Airbus: Fuel Cell System Test a Success

 - March 25, 2008, 7:13 AM

Airbus in late February successfully tested an emissions-free fuel cell in flight. The hydrogen- and oxygen-based fuel cell system generated up to 20 kilowatts of electrical power on an A320 test aircraft, and the output was used to power the aircraft’s electric motor pump for the back-up hydraulic circuit that operates the aircraft’s ailerons. The company tested the system’s effectiveness during high-G turns and zero-gravity maneuvers, as well as straight-and-level flight. During the flight test, the fuel cells produced about 10 liters of water, the company said, which could be used for the aircraft water and waste systems, making the aircraft lighter and increasing its fuel efficiency. Airbus said the successful flight will eventually enable the company to replace other aircraft systems, such as emergency power and auxiliary power (APU) with fuel cell technology, which would “significantly reduce the noise and emission levels in and around airports.”