Designing the first fuel-cell manned inter-city aircraft is the goal of a recently launched EU-funded project.
The Environmentally Friendly Inter City Aircraft powered by Fuel Cells (ENFICA-FC) project is receiving €2.9 million from the EU as part of the aeronautics and space priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The Polytechnic of Turin is leading the project, the goal of which is to develop an intercity aircraft that uses fuel cell technology for the propulsion system, and hydrogen storage.
In addition, these technologies will also be developed to replace on-board electrical systems with larger ‘more-electric’ or ‘all-electric’ aircraft.
The fuel cell system will be installed in selected aircraft, which will be flight and performance tested as a proof-of-concept for future applicability in other inter-city aircraft.
The results of the ambitious project will be presented at both on-ground and in-flight public events at the end of the three year research project.
The EU is providing two-thirds of the funding for the project, and is keen to see the development of fuel cell technology as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.