Finally, conducting the zero-emission flight, the fuel cell powered Antares DLR-H2 breaks the shackles and opens up an unexplored vista of scientific ascendancy. At Hamburg Airport, Antares successfully completed the first-ever piloted flight that produced no emissions. It covered 750 kilometers in five hours. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) developed this soundless aircraft in collaboration with the DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics, Lange Aviation, BASF Fuel Cells and Serenergy.
Collaborators chipped in with notable contributions:
– Germany based Lange Aviation constructed the 20 meters’ wings of the motor glider. The company did a great job in accommodating the fuel cell under its specially crafted wings. It makes Antares capable of flying at 300 kilometers per hour.
– The DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics, BASF Fuel Cells and Serenergy developed the fuel cell system. A hydrogen-powered system produces only one by-product i.e. water during its electrochemical reaction with oxygen. It delivers up to 25 kilowatts of electrical power.
– Lange Aviation and the College of Advanced Technology in Berne/Biel developed its motor controller that’s efficient enough to control up to 400 V.
Are fuel cells the future of aviation?
With our successful first flight, we have verified the feasibility of fuel-cell powered flight and our next steps will focus on improving efficiency levels and on extending the service life of these systems.
Says Dr-Ing. Josef Kallo (DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics)
Hence, this lead might go on to transform the aviation technology wherein developers will turn to fuel cells as the future energy source. As far as on-board power supply is concerned, the concept is definitely worth considering. Since the test flight also provides for lower emissions, lower noise levels and safe flying, the commercial airliners might take a cue from it and think accordingly.
Meanwhile, Antares DLR-H2 will become part of auxiliary test flights at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. Over the next three years, it will assist other similar projects run by the associates. The collaboration is there to stay for long. So, the partners will make sure that the research work goes on and more milestones are achieved.