General Motors and Liebherr-Aerospace will join forces to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power generation demonstrator system for aircraft. The two companies will explore possiblities to develop an integrated system, customized to the performance and economic requirements of commercial aircraft.
The construction and testing of this demonstrator—based, in part, on GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology—will take place in a specialized laboratory multi-system integration testing at Liebherr-Aerospace in Toulouse (France). The demonstrator will incorporate GM’s precisely crafted fuel cells, HYDROTEC power cube and fuel cell system, along with the GM’s controls and models.
GM, through its relationship with Honda, is one of the world’s most advanced fuel cell developers in many industrial fields, now entering into aeronautics. GM’s fuel cell business benefits from decades of investment in engineering and manufacturing expertise with high volume processes that can bring economies of scale to fuel cell production.
Aircraft are a great litmus test for the strength and versatility of our HYDROTEC fuel cells. Our technology can address customer needs in a wide range of uses—on land, sea, air or rail, and this collaboration with Liebherr could open up new possibilities for aircraft, transitioning to alternative energy power sources.—GM Executive Director – Global HYDROTEC Charlie Freese
Liebherr is one of the world’s leading suppliers of integrated on-board aircraft systems. Liebherr’s integrated aircraft system concept benefits from decades of investment in on-board thermal management and on-board power management.
The change from the conventional to a hydrogen technology-based electrical power generation system means major systems modifications on board the aircraft that could result in better, more efficient performance of the plane. This we want to prove and test thoroughly. The advantage of GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology is that it has shown promise in extensive automotive and military programs, where it has shown to be reliable from the engineering and manufacturing perspectives. We are developing low emissions aerospace solutions.—Francis Carla, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS