Aeronautical Fuel Cell System Application and Associated Standardization Work 2006-01-3093
Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the position as technology driver and a distinct customer orientation, broad commercial know-how and high production efficiencies. It is constantly working on further and new development of its products from ecological and economical points of view. Fuel Cell Systems (FCS) on board of an aircraft provide a good opportunity to address both aspects. Based on existing and upcoming research results it is necessary to find trend-setting measures for the industrial implementation and application of this technology. Past and current research efforts have shown good prospects for the industrial implementation and application of the fuel cell technology.
Being an efficient source of primarily electric power the fuel cell would be most beneficial when used in conjunction with electrical systems. In the aeronautical society there is currently an ongoing study on the advantages of more electrical systems on board of an aircraft as opposed to the classical division of power distribution into electric, pneumatic and hydraulic. While with the introduction of the A380 the, at least partial, replacement of hydraulic circuits by electric power networks is widely appreciated, this question remains open for the pneumatic power provision from the engines to the air conditioning system and the wing anti-ice system. In any case the electrical power consumption on board has significantly risen over the past decades and keeps climbing while the electrical power generation systems, mainly engine generators and auxiliary power unit, are constrained by the efficiency limits of their associated combustion engines. In light of this development a successful introduction of fuel cell systems as electrical power source on board of aircraft would overcome this barrier and could even positively shift the balance towards the elimination of bleed system.