Project | H2-OnAir


Hydrogen Storage by Nanostructured Materials
for H2-OnAir, EUREKA/Airbus

1Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Franz, 1Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Ulrich Benz, 1Deniz Yigit, 1-3Prof. Dr. Henning Zoz

1Zoz Group, D-57482 Wenden, Germany
2CIITEC-IPN, Mexico City, C.P. 02250 México, D. F.
3Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Shiga 525-8577, Japan


The goal of the H2-OnAir-project (EG 906, EUROGIA+/EUREKA) is to equip solar- & battery-powered aircrafts with an additional fuel cell range-extender to at least triple the range (at zero sun), proving that hydrogen is a potential candidate for primary power-supply of zero-emission future aviation and finally for the entire transportation of mankind (e. g. same tanks and infrastructure for aviation and on-road vehicles). For the on-board hydrogen-supply, different routes of storing hydrogen are investigated under direct competition. Route (1) metal hydride (solid state) based H2Tank2Go®-cartridges which are operating virtually at zero pressure (< 10 bar). Route (2) conventional high-pressured H2-gas cylinders and (3) a combination of both, pressured gas and metal hydride system. All tanks have the same quick-connector-system (click`n`go) for refuelling within seconds. Second major goal is the development of cost-effective fuel cells PEMFC where the 3 major cost-drivers a) catalyst, b) bipolar-sheet and c) periphery will be addressed. The project is based on the Icaré 2 aircraft-platform of the University of Stuttgart/Germany. With the H2-range-extender, the Icaré 2 will be tested by partners Uni-Stuttgart and EADS and in Germany will perform five test-flights. CNRS will test PEM single cells and stack, ICPAS the metal hydride and MaHyTec supplies alternative tanks (2-3). Zoz manufactures H2Tank2Go®/Hydrolium®, PEMFC and drive-system. Airbus is the consulting and monitoring partner.


Project Description

The H2-driven fuel cell range-extender will work in tandem with the existing Li-Ion battery (by also recharging the battery in flight). Air-breathing fuel cells stacks (cost and weight) at the power-range of about 2 kW each will be integrated as a twin-system (redundancy) to achieve a total 4 kW rated electrical power. The complete additional weight of the range-extender must not exceed 50 kg. By using different hydrogen storage technologies in combination with solar cells and advanced batteries, the project will have a positive impact on reducing CO2-emissions and demonstrates transportation completely based on regenerative energies. The aircraft Icaré 2 was built for solar flight. Due to this it has been designed for extremely low power consumption in all flight conditions. Commanded by a normal sized pilot it needs less than 2 kW of electric power to keep the flight level. With its low power consumption, particularly at cruising altitude, Icaré 2 is an ideal test platform for new energy systems. Moreover, Icaré 2 incorporates all features such as low energy consumption, solar generator and battery system for future flying and other transportation platforms. Icaré 2 was also chosen to be utilized as the experimental platform for future HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite).


What is new?

  • advanced and environmentally friendly aircraft propulsion by a combination of solar cells, battery and hydrogen fuel cell
  • solid state hydrogen storage as well as the physical combination with pressurized hydrogen for aviation
  • fuel cell system provides electrical power for all flight phases (not only for cruise)
  • cost-effective, lightweight fuel cell system
  • standardized connectors for all kinds of hydrogen tanks
  • same tanks for aviation and ground transportation
  • quick replacement of tanks rather than refueling on board (new infrastructure strategy at revolutionary logistics and operative way of refueling)
  • – platform for later High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) at combined Battery-Solar-FC-technology for very long term flight missions