Home Green Energy Hydrogen Power

Airbus A320 to Be Equipped With Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Increased Efficiency


Though the hydrogen fuel cells used nowadays are not powerful enough that commercial aircraft engines can be replaced by them, it doesn’t mean that they are not effective enough to make air travel more efficient. Airbus flight tests have shown 15% decreases in fuel consumption.

The environmental controls, entertainment system, and lights of the Airbus were powered with the hydrogen fuel cells. The test flights will be commenced in 2015 with the installation of a 90 kWh hydrogen fuel cell in the A320, which is owned by the German Aerospace Center.

The fuel cell will also power the hydraulics and avionics of the airbus. It will also help in maintaining a low level of oxygen in the tanks so remain safe during the flight. The current technology used in aircrafts involves the electrical power system. The produced electric power also separates the small turbine known as the auxiliary unit.

Michel Loignon, the engineering manager at Airbus has stated that with the use of the fuel cell the conversion of energy will become easier from chemical to electrical. He also further stated that they are working on the collection of different mature technologies and mixing them.

Nowadays the aircrafts are normally designed with larger engines, so they can accommodate additional power needs, resulting in the weight increase of the aircraft. With the use of hydrogen fuel cells, the auxiliary power unit will be removed and the power will be more efficiently generated.

Another advantage of using hydrogen fuel cells will be that they will efficiently reduce the amount of water carried by the aircraft at takeoff. Some large airlines have to carry 3,000 pounds of water and the savings will be made with the use of fuel cells. Manchester University Aerospace engineer William Crowther has also declared the use of the fuel cells as a good on a long term basis. He has also pointed out that with the hydrogen on board new safety challenges will also be introduced.

[via technologyreview]

(Visited 263 times, 1 visits today)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.