Jan 13, 2020 - 03:00 pm

Small fuel cell aircraft in development in Germany

The electric vehicle retrofitter eCap Mobility and the microlight aircraft manufacturer Breezer Aircraft want to develop a fuel cell drive that can be retrofitted to single-engine aircraft. However, the focus is more on single-seat sports aircraft than on the electrification of commercial planes.

The two companies signed a corresponding cooperation agreement a few days ago during the New Year’s reception of the Lüneburg air sports club. The goal is to have a motorized aircraft fly with the help of a fuel cell. The hydrogen required for this is to be produced by wind power.

In a first step, however, a battery-electric aircraft is planned: For the prototype, an electric drive developed by Breezer Aircraft is to be installed in a small Breezer B440-6 aircraft. The power will come from a high-performance battery storage system from eCap. In the second phase of the project, the fuel cell is to be installed next to the battery to generate electricity onboard. The battery will remain part of the propulsion system as buffer storage. Schedules for the two project phases as well as performance data of the electric drive, battery and fuel cell or the planned range of the electric aircraft are not mentioned in the communication.

“In the coming years, we expect a growing demand for reliable, safe and environmentally friendly propulsion and conversion solutions for aircraft,” said Dirk Lehmann, founder of eCap, and Dirk Ketelsen, CEO of Breezer Aircraft. However, both companies are more concerned with the electrification of small aircraft and, at a time when the environmental impact of flying is under discussion, a clean future for sport aviation.

A glance at the planned production also shows that the focus is more on smaller quantities. For the time being, the assembly will take place at the eCap headquarters in Winsen an der Luhe, later on, production is planned at Lüneburg airport. Ten jobs will be created there. Since, however, according to the companies, it is not certain at present whether the Lüneburg airport will be maintained, the commitment for the location is only conditional.

According to the company, eCap offers electrification solutions for passenger cars (including classic car conversions), trucks and boats. Since the end of 2019, eCap has also been working with the Chinese FC manufacturer Re-Fire on fuel cell projects. Breezer Aircraft manufactures ultralight and LSA aircraft with around 25 employees.

Source: via email

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Found on electrive.com
https://www.electrive.com/2020/01/13/small-fuel-cell-aircraft-in-development-in-germany/
13.01.2020 15:04