The Hydrogen Stream: Hydrogen-electric powertrain for aircraft


H2FLY has successfully passed liquid hydrogen on-ground filling tests with the newly developed liquid hydrogen tank for its HY4 aircraft. “The efforts are part of the European project Heaven, a consortium of five partners to demonstrate the feasibility of using liquid, cryogenic hydrogen-powered fuel cell powertrain in aircraft, led by H2FLY,” said the German company, which develops hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircraft. Its project partner, Air Liquide, designed and supplied the storage system. The filling tests are part of preparations for upcoming coupling tests, in which the liquid hydrogen storage system will be coupled with the fuel cell system to form a complete hydrogen-electric powertrain.

South Korean researchers have discovered that the global warming potential (GWP) emission factor of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) system for residential buildings – fed with hydrogen from natural gas reforming (NG-PEMFC) – is more than double the GWP of a similar system fed with hydrogen from a PV-powered water eletrolyzer. “In the case of NG-PEMFC, the GWP was 3.72E-01 kg-CO2eq/kWh, the embodied carbon emissions due to using city gas during the life-cycle process was about 20.87%, the carbon emission ratio according to the reformer's combustion burner was 6.07%, and the direct carbon emission ratio of the air emissions from the reformer was 73.06%, indicating that the carbon emission from the reformer contributed over 80% of the total GWP,” the researchers wrote in “Potential global warming impact of 1 kW polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell system for residential buildings on operation phase,” which was recently published in Energy for Sustainable Development. The GWP for the system fed with hydrogen from a PV-powered water electrolyzer was 1.76E-01 kg-CO2eq/kWh. The scientists noted that the embodied carbon emissions from PV generation during the life-cycle process accounted for more than 99% of the total GWP.

Wingcopter and the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research have launched a partnership to develop green-hydrogen-powered delivery drones. “The most important requirement for the development project is to increase flight duration while maintaining the Wingcopter’s characteristic flight capabilities,” said ZAL.

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Germany’s Chemnitz region is applying to become a HyPerformer region, in cooperation with HZwo, under the HyLand regional funding program of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). BMDV is expected to make a decision by the end of April. The goal is to establish scalable hydrogen production and flexible distribution via a broad network of filling stations, in addition to purchasing hydrogen vehicles throughout the region.

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