The Electric Plane HY4, surprising hydrogen, has taken off

Powered by a fuel cell, the electric airplane HY4, developed by German researchers, has a range of over 750 km. This four-seater, strange-looking, made its first flight. The goal is to design a regional airliner of 19 places “zero emission”.Behind this project: Airbus, Siemens and 20 universities

A strange craft took off September 29, 2016 from Stuttgart Airport. This device two fuselages looks like two airplanes, like brothers Siamese , are interconnected by a common wing with an engine and a propeller. The HY4 makes little noise: the engine, 80 kW, is electric. Take-off phase in which consumption is significant, it is a lithium-ion battery that provides electricity. But in flight, a fuel cell , drawing the hydrogen in a tank maintained at low temperature, produces electricity by reaction with oxygen from the air and releases water vapor. Results announced but validate: 145 km / h cruising 200 km / h in peak and a range of 750-1000 km.

Certainly, the electric airplane is not a novelty. Many manufacturers, large and small, are trying it for years and no introduction shipping Solar Impulse has completed a world tour with the energy solar.The use of a fuel cell for supplying electricity to an aircraft is not new either. In 2007, we presented the SmartFish , a model become “HyFish” once with an electric motor and a fuel cell. The transformation had already taken place in Stuttgart, in the workshops of the DLR ,  Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt , an aeronautical research institute.

electric-airplane-hy4

The electric aircraft hydrogen, issue a large research program

German engineers have persisted. University of Ulm researchers got their hands in the dough and the DLR is engaged in an extensive research program on electric aviation, with industrial partners such as Airbus and Siemens and as scientific support using 20 universities and research centers of Helmotz Association . The HY4 is based on an electric aircraft trade, the Taurus Electro of the Czech company Pipistrel. This Taurus is actually a “glider” that is to say a glider with a massive 14.97 m and a low power motor (30 kW cruise, in this case). Team H2Fly , who leads the project, brought together two Taurus, to bring the engine, the fuel cell and battery, achieving a mass total of 1,500 kg . The method is ingenious and avoided building a plane from scratch, as did the team of Solar Impulse .

The result is a four-seater, which is exceptional for an electric plane. The ultimate goal however is not to provide a recreational glider. Airbus and Siemens are working the topic of electric aviation for many years. Airbus has for example made the prototype E-Fan , presented at the last Paris Air Show, is studying the fuel cell for its A320 Neo and always says work on the project of a low-capacity transport aircraft. DLR says the same thing in his statement , saying that the electric motor suit small aircraft taxis for short distances, regionally, until  “19 seats” . Then remains to find ways to produce large amounts of hydrogen, possibly other than with plants fossil fuels . These aircraft would then be truly “zero emission “.

 

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