Skip to main content

High powEr density FC System for Aerial Passenger VEhicle fueled by liquid HydrogeN

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HEAVEN (High powEr density FC System for Aerial Passenger VEhicle fueled by liquid HydrogeN)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

The overall objective of this project is to address the gap between research and product stage of a zero-emission fuel cell (FC) based propulsion technology to achieve emission and noise reduction scenarios and meet the environmental goals for aviation towards the year 2050. To that end, a highly efficient, high power density fuel cell-based hybrid-electric propulsion architecture will be combined with the high energy density of cryogenic hydrogen storage and it will be advanced up to Technology Readiness Level 6.
This FC based powertrain will be developed and used for in-flight demonstrations on the experimental aircraft HY4 (2-4 PAX) to showcase aircraft relevant power density and range of the powertrain. The core value of HEAVEN is to transfer FC and cryogenic hydrogen storage technology from automotive and space technology to aircraft application, to advance it further and to build up technological know-how and use flight test data to validate the performance, range, efficiency and emission reduction capabilities of above technologies. This will allow making conclusions about the suitability of these solutions towards Air taxi and regional aircraft scale zero-emission hydrogen-FC-powered solutions.
The work performed from the beginning of the project until now concerns mostly the definition of the specifications of the different systems to be integrated on board of the aircraft.
HEAVEN project proposes the development of a fuel cell (FC) system with high power and energy density for the propulsion of a 2-4 PAX demonstrator. The fuel cell system comprises two 45 kW PEM fuel cell stacks based on metallic bipolar plates and ready for mass production. This fuel cell system is adaptable to both small and large passenger aircraft (at least up to 19 PAX). It needs to be noted that the demonstrator airplane in HEAVEN will cater for zero-emission taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise and landing of the aircraft thus drastically reducing emissions and noise pollution. This is also fully in line with the ACARE SRIA Flightpath 2050 goals and goals of White Paper on Transport1, which is highlighting the importance of shift from fossil fuel dependency and reduction of green-house gas emissions by 80−95 % until 2050 as main general goals for transport suitability.
While HEAVEN high power and energy density FC-hybrid propulsion solution can be adapted to larger aircraft, testing the technology on large aircraft would first require massive investments in megawatt class ultra-lightweight engines, bringing delays to this perspective development.
By implementing the technological solutions first on small aircraft, which have favorable power-demands to conduct flight testing now, this narrows the horizon of commercial exploitation of the technology to years 2020-2030. Moreover, the scalability of the fuel cell system and the powertrain into small and bigger aircrafts as well as the extrapolation of the technology to UAV applications will be analyzed by using simulations during the execution of the project, providing inputs to the design activities to design towards the full modularity.