27 Hyundai XCIENT fuel cell trucks entering fleet service in Germany; funding from BMDV
Aurora Hydrogen raises $10M Series A; microwave pyrolysis of natural gas for efficient low-carbon hydrogen production

AVL to use TECO2030 fuel cell stacks in DemoTruck

Norway-based TECO2030, a provider of specifically designed modular fuel cell system for heavy-duty marine applications, and AVL List GmbH have signed a collaboration agreement under which TECO2030s fuel cell stacks will be deployed in AVL’s DemoTruck which is powered by the HyTruck Fuel Cell System. The DemoTruck project is currently constructing a prototype Class 8 / 40-ton truck with outstanding power density capabilities which provides a perfect form factor to enable integration of more than 300kW net fuel cell systems into standard truck chassis.

The DemoTruck prototype will be on the road in mid-2023.


HyTruck (in support of AVL’s DemoTruck) is a project funded by the Austrian government and has the objective to develop, build, calibrate and validate a heavy-duty fuel cell system including its key technologies to meet the requirements of commercial vehicles regarding power, efficiency, reliability and lifetime.

The project consortium consists of several partners such as AVL, DB Schenker, Hydrogen Europe, EI-JKU, EMT, EVN AG, FEN, FPT, HyCentA, PBX, Rosenbauer, Technical University Vienna, VKM, and WIVA. AVL is coordinating the project as well as providing technical concept development of the fuel cell powertrain, including cooling, operating strategy, packaging and fuel cell system development.

I am really excited to see the TECO2030 stacks perform in an additional heavy-duty application other than marine. With the carbon plate stack design, we laid the foundation for pretty much everything heavy duty and it is absolutely key to find these common denominators across industries.

—Falko Berg, Manager PEM Systems at AVL List Gmbh



Here is their marine version:


' Advanced fuel conditioning system, enabling operations on compressed and liquid H2, ammonia, methanol and other H2 based carriers.'

Dunno whether that might come in handy on trucks.
Cummins are doing different versions of their trucking engines, each one modified for different fuels, so presumably it might.


The marine version would make a good backup power plant for a wind powered ocean vessel. One of my favorites from Sweden - the Oceanbird.


Hi Gryf

There was a recent article here about a fuel cell system for smaller boats, which interested me but I can't seem to spot again.

In fact, I must apologize to folk here for my memory, as the likes of you, sd, SJC, and EP patiently address my questions, and I often forget!

A case in point, you referred to the use of LOHCs in trains, and I blathered on in reply, when ages ago, I find on re-reading some articles and comments, you posted this excellent link:


It looks as though there is good prospect of solving the issues, and that when I was repeating that the system of compressed hydrogen works, the distances etc could be increased and safety and convenience enhanced, which is why Siemens which already have compressed NG trains is developing LOHC ones:


So I am not only the slow student at the back of the class, but the forgetful one too!

Thanks everybody, for bearing with me.


' Siemens which already have compressed NG trains is developing LOHC ones:'

S/be 'compressed H2 trains'



Here is the article on smaller systems for boats I was thinking of:


Dunno I would fancy hydrogen though, methanol or something should be way better on a boat



Siemens may be researching LOHC and may have developed hydrogen fuel cell railcars but they have already sold more than 60 of the battery electric version of the Miero railcar.




My attitude has always been, if the product fits the application, use it!

What I tend to dispute is the wisdom of 'first principles' sweeping judgements for whole areas of technology.

So just as for road trucking, if a BEV train does the job, that's fine.

Alstom are the leaders in fuel cell trains, and those are actually in service, with other areas to introduce them after their early successes, and they give a rather greater operating envelope.

Whilst you are about, I'd like to pick your brains on the Piasecki PA 890

After re-reading the stuff here and elsewhere on it, I would put it at the top of the list for likely successful early introduction, as perhaps certification may be somewhat easier with the substantial use of many tried and tested helicopter systems?

And unlike Toyota and their Joby investment, they are experts in aviation, not a car manufacturer trying their hand at it, whilst for the Joby and several other designs they are full of rotating this and that, often heavy and complex parts.

The wing on the Piasecki should be relatively simple to rotate?

They are aiming at the same market as Beta Technologies, but perhaps their design is rather more conservative in using tested components?

However, what battery density they are assuming is not specified, whilst Beta are explicit.

What is your assessment?

Apologies if this is something which you have addressed in detail elsewhere, and I did not understand or have forgotten!


The Piasecki PA-890 is planned to carry 2 compressed H2 tanks with 42.5 lbs each or 38.6 kg of H2 (assuming 50% conversion would equal around 600 kWh of energy).

The PA-890 is similar to the Karem Aircraft Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) design submitted to the US Army and while not winning did exhibit strong interest by the DoD.


Thanks Gryf

To put you on the spot, what is your assessment of the Piasecki vs Beta Technologies?

They are aiming at the same customers!



Lots of good stuff in another link on your Piasecki one:


On pages 64-5:

' Dr. Kallo, CEO of H2Fly, attended from Germany. He presented
their 10-year experience in flying HFC aircraft, beginning with
the Antares DLR-H2, the first crewed, purely hydrogen-electric
aircraft, through the HY4, and onto the present development
partnership with Deutsche Aircraft. Their goal is to convert a
Dornier Do328 aircraft with a 1.5-MW fuel-cell powerplant with
1,100 lb (500 kg) of LH2 on board. Kallo shared valuable lessons
learned and made recommendations based on direct experience
in developing and testing HFC-powered aircraft. Kallo also
showed his vision of implementing hydrogen infrastructure,
along with a cost comparison between hydrogen and sustainable
aviation fuels (SAF), with hydrogen being the clear winner'

I'd love to see the breakdown of that comparison, but it is obviously one that Airbus has bought into.


The Piasecki is basically a helicopter with different flight characteristics than the Beta Alia-250 which is a VTOL/CTOL aircraft. While both could be used as Air taxis they really do have different missions. If you need hover capability, possibly for search and rescue than you need a helicopter. If you are going point to point, than the Beta Alia-250 works great. Though I do not have exact specs it looks like it has a Disk Loading like a CV-22 (20.9 lb/sq ft assuming 10 ft rotors), while the PA-890 is much better.

I am not a fan of Liquid H2 for aircraft. It is technically possible (the Soviet Union flew the TU-155 in 1988 and Lockheed did research on the Suntan CL-400 in 1956 . . Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, one of the greatest aviation designers of all time reportedly told the Air Force, “I’m building you a dog,” and recommended cancellation of the program.)
Liquid hydrogen is a terrific fuel on a per-weight basis, it isn’t very dense. It thus occupies a much higher volume than other fuels. More volume means more skin area for the vehicle. This isn’t that much of a problem for a rocket, however for an aircraft it means more drag and more fuel.
Safety, cost, reliability, flying around in a DO328 which is not very large and needs 2x1.5 MW fuel cells, BoP made of Inconel, Multi-Megawatt electric motors. Definitely take the R&D money from the German government if only for science value. By 2050, we may even be flying Aneutronic Fusion powered aircraft by then for all I know.



I can understand the reasons for your reservations.
Certainly for longer distances Airbus designs have a radically different shape to current aircraft to cope with the greater volume of fuel needed.


' Storing enough hydrogen on-board a vehicle to achieve a driving range of greater than 300 miles is a significant challenge. On a weight basis, hydrogen has nearly three times the energy content of gasoline (120 MJ/kg for hydrogen versus 44 MJ/kg for gasoline). However, on a volume basis the situation is reversed (8 MJ/liter for liquid hydrogen versus 32 MJ/liter for gasoline).'

However, Hypoint argue:

' “Reducing weight is the most important factor for enabling longer-distance air travel with fewer stops to refuel,” said Dr Alex Ivanenko, founder and CEO of HyPoint.

And, fewer stops mean flying on hydrogen could get cheaper than using kerosene. HyPoint estimates an aircraft equipped with GTL tank technology could achieve as much as four times the range of conventional aircraft that use aviation fuel, cutting aircraft operating costs by an estimated 50% on a dollar-per-passenger-mile basis.

It would also make fuel cell systems viable for flights previously not deemed suitable. “Longer-haul aircraft may be able to utilise hydrogen for the first time while eVTOL makers can effectively multiply their flight range and operational time,” Ivanenko said.

Sergei Shubenkov, Co-founder and Head of R&D at HyPoint, further illustrated their reason behind working with GTL by comparison with an already hydrogen-fuelled plane. He said their internal analysis of a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q300, which seats 50 to 56 passengers using a standard liquid hydrogen tank, could achieve 5 hours of flight time or a maximum range of 2,640km. “With GTL’s tank, it could fly for 8.5 hours or a max range of 4,488km.”


So there are a whole bunch of trade offs between weight and volume, new aircraft shapes aiding drag, not to mention the efficiencies of fuel cell systems versus jet engines, which I certainly have no idea of how they will all pan out, even ignoring such trivia as actually getting a nice idea working.

But I am not sure that the folk at Airbus et al have definitely lost their marbles, although for sure they may be mistaken.


The efficiencies and power densities of fuel cells will be no match for Geared Turbofan with a STIG cycle.
An Airbus 220 with the MTU turbofans (currently uses PW1500 Geared Turbofans which MTU has a 15% stake). This aircraft would seat 150 passengers, cruise at 470 knots and have a range of over 6,700 km.
So burning SAF, you may only get a 60% reduction of GHG compared to 75% GHG reduction for the hypothetical LH2 FC Aircraft that will have a per seat cost at least 3X (remember water vapor is a GHG).
Airbus obviously knows all of this, too.



From your link:
' To completely cut out NOx emissions as well, there’s no getting away from fuel cells—meaning flying with hydrogen. MTU has this technology in its sights, too.'

So they don't seem totally convinced that hydrogen and fuel cells are a non-flyer, so to speak.

Where do you get your figure of 3 times the seat costs for fuel cell planes?
Clearly no one is going to build them if that is the case, so presumably the likes of Airbus are working on very different figures.

I can't spot my reference off hand, but an analysis of the impact of water vapour on warming pretty much come up with 'dunno how big or long lasting it is', after suggesting some mitigation strategies such as re-routing and changing altitudes.

My comments are not to dismiss your skepticism, as you know loads more than I, and in any case I asked your opinion, but to clarify.


Here is Airbus on their efforts to provide storage for liquid hydrogen:


They fairly point out the issues of using hydrogen for flying as opposed to rockets, and are going for metal at first before trying to move to composites etc.

Will it work?
Dunno, but I think that the engineers there think they can make it work, or at least it is worth the attempt, as for really big companies as opposed to start ups which can take government money then fold, with the founders departing with loot, 'cough' Nikola, 'cough', they are going to get government money pumped into them whatever their technical choices, so they are going to do loads better if they pick one that works.

Of course, their R & D department may have managed to mislead senior management on the likelihood of success for their favoured options! :-(



I have to say that I know more about fixed wing aircraft. There have been a number of attempts to build a faster helicopter while keeping the ability to hover. One problem with going faster with a helicopter is that as you go faster, you develop more lift with the upwind blade and less with the downwind blade. One way around this is to use counter rotating blades. See https://www.lockheedmartin.com/fvl/index.html Another way is use short wings that develop more lift as you go faster which is what Piasecki is doing. Personally, I think that the tilt rotor system that Bell/Boeing uses for the V-22 Osprey is a better design, Bell also has a a newer version the V-280 Valor. See https://www.bellflight.com/experience/future-vertical-lift. The V-22 had a lot of initial developmental problems but it seems to working OK now.

The Joby design uses 6 tilt rotors while other designs us a number of other design use a large number of vertical only rotors and separate forward light propellers. I suspect that one of the reasons for Joby's using 6 rotors is for redundancy so it will keep flying if one motor fails. The V-22 Osprey uses a complex shaft system between the 2 rotors so it will run on one engine. I do not know if it is possible to do an emergency auto rotate landing without power. I could have asked last week as they had an Osprey at the Oshkosh airshow. Maybe next time.


The 3 times the seat costs for fuel cell planes is just a cursory comparison to an expensive 3 MW fuel cell powered Q400 which currently carries 50 passengers (a large part of the cabin will be filled by the LH2 tank, so maybe 35-40 passengers).
The A220 is a popular, very efficient 150 passenger aircraft with a low seat cost due to the P&W PW1500G Geared Turbofans. If these are enhanced with a STIG cycle they would be just as efficient as a fuel cell.
The Airbus reference points out many of the same issues I have stated. One particular point:
“ . . . weight and volume are critical for aircraft. To go further still, we can dial down the temperature to -253°C. That’s when hydrogen transforms itself from a gas to a liquid, increasing its energy density even more. Returning to our example, four litres of liquid hydrogen would be the equivalent of one litre of standard jet fuel .”

Still 4:1 kerosene advantage. Those metallic tanks could be aluminum, but everything else must be steel or Inconel, i.e, valves, tubing, fittings,etc.
We have have not even started on infrastructure costs or additional expense of converting hydrogen from a gas to a liquid which would be substantial no matter what the color of H2.
Then we have “Safety”, think about flying an LH2 aircraft 40 years.

The comments to this entry are closed.