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BASF DLR-H2: First Manned Fuel Cell Airplane Took Off!


Aren’t news annoying? When I hear something like “The German Aerospace Center did their first manned airplane flight exclusively powered by a fuel cell”, and then “but we’re sure we won’t see fuel cell technology in commercial flights anytime sooner, only maybe as auxiliary power generators in”…watch out… “small planes“(!!!), that you never know if  they are going to be used at all, since kerosene does a pretty good job most of the time.

I am annoyed that we, the green bloggers aren’t optimistic and don’t force authorities to implement this technology and make it reliable asap! I mean, why? Fuel cells have been tested all the way from 1960s, and have been found to be reliable and powerful, while their carbon footprint is insignificant! Well, as long as the hydrogen is made using carbon-free technologies, from renewable resources.

Anyway, it’s sad, but also bright. This spring, Boeing announced a flight powered by fuel cells, only that the take-off was powered by a Li-Ion battery. This autumn, on Sept. 30, the Germans did it from head to toe by using only hydrogen! Wow!

Three partners are cooperating in the evaluation of the high temperature PEM fuel cell, used in Antares DLR-H2 plane: BASF, as manufacturer of the only commercial membrane electrode assembly for this fuel cell type; the Danish company Serenergy A/S, supplier of the compact, air-cooled stack; and, DLR, responsible for the integration of the stack in the fuel cell system and subsequently in the airplane. DLR will also conduct the testing according to the special requirements of aviation.

So, fuel cells, have a bright future! Green bloggers, unite!

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