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Intelligent Energy Provides Multi-Functional Fuel Cell APU to Airbus for Testing

Intelligent Energy recently provided Airbus with a multi-functional fuel cell auxiliary power unit (APU) aimed at on-board power and other loads in future commercial airliners.

The clean APU, for testing in Airbus’ new Aerotec Fuel Cell Test Centre, is designed around Intelligent Energy’s common core fuel cell systems already utilized in motive programs such as Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell hybrid London taxi and in distributed power work with Scottish and Southern Energy plc.

Airbus has already been investigating how hydrogen fuel cells can provide power for aircraft and has previously tested a hydrogen and oxygen-based fuel cell system on board their A320 test aircraft. The fuel cell system powers the aircraft’s back-up hydraulic and electric power systems, as well as operating the ailerons.

In February 2008, using a similar type of power system, Intelligent Energy provided the system to Boeing which powered the first manned fuel cell aircraft. (Earlier post.)


Henry Gibson

It would be interesting to know the weight of such systems. The efficiency of the main engines is so bad at moving the plane that fuel cells are not of great value. The aircraft now are so big that very efficient Junkers Jumo opposed piston engines reenginered with titanium might be lower weight and less cost than a fuel cell with more efficiency and fit in somewhere. Just pointing the exhaust in the right direction allows the recover of energy as does the use of de Laval nozzels.

Piston engines are now the popular method of moving ships again. It is a bit surprising that no more new Still engines have appeared.

I do not know how well Capstone turbines run at high altitudes, but they also could be reengineered with titanium for APUs.

If hydraulic systems are used they are a perfect application for a NOAX engine APU re-built with titanium for light weight and high efficiency perhaps better than any fuel cell. ..HG..

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