Airbus wins German Aviation Innovation Award featuring Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Stacks

Published on Thu 17 May, 2018

Loughborough, UK – Thursday 17 May: Intelligent Energy was delighted to be informed this week that Airbus has been awarded the German Aviation Innovation Award.  The accolade was presented to Airbus at the International Aerospace Exhibition in Berlin for a concept design that is powered by Intelligent Energy fuel cell stacks.

The HP2U is a concept demonstrator which has been designed as a potential means to replace the auxiliary power unit (APU) in the tail of an aircraft. It uses six of Intelligent Energy’s air cooled fuel cell stacks. The aim is for the fuel cell to power an electric power plant which in turn powers a rotating shaft to drive an air conditioning system or a generator.

The new H2PU system could replace the kerosene-fuelled APU. Fuel cells only emit a small amount of water vapour meaning they are zero emission at point of use.

The team of developers at Airbus Systems Engineering have stated that running a motor on electric power from fuel cells is more efficient than a kerosene-based drive. The novel turbine has an efficiency of roughly 50 per cent compared to 20 per cent or so achieved with the conventional APU. The fuel cell system could eventually be integrated into any Airbus aircraft without design changes and the interfaces of the concept system are compatible with those of the present APUs.

Dr Christopher Dudfield, Chief Technology Officer at Intelligent Energy, said: “We congratulate Airbus on their recent award win and look forward to seeing how the product develops in the future.

“Our Air Cooled fuel cell stacks produce DC power in a simple, cost-effective, robust and lightweight package. They are modular and can be scaled to meet precise customer power requirements. They can be used across several applications and it is great to see how Airbus have used them with this innovative project.”