Researchers and designers at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Aircraft Design (IFB) have announced that they’ll begin the construction of a zero-emission electric aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The aircraft, called Hydrogenius will compete in NASA’s Green Flight Challenge competition.
The competition, sponsored by Comparative Aircraft Efficiency Foundation and NASA, will reward the first plane that exceeds an equivalent fuel-efficiency of 100 kilometres per litre with a $1.65-million prize. The airplane will must to fly a minimum of 320 kilometres at a minimum speed of 160 kilometres per hour – in addition to meeting noise requirements and stringent safety. “We will go to America in order to win,” said Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, leader of the IFB team.
The Hydrogenius aircraft will be equipped with an electric motor and a lithium battery that will use the power from the aircraft’s onboard hydrogen fuel cell system. The team is convinced that their newly implemented energy-saving techniques will help the electric motor beat other conventional engines. This plane is environmentally-friendly and has the advantage of minimal sound output and high energy efficiency.
To take their aircraft to America, the IFB team still requires a considerable sum of money. “We still need about €300,000 to enable us to continue developing the aircraft until 2011,” said Len Schumann, a member of the team.