In order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and kerosene in particular, clean and sustainable alternative energies must be found. Air Liquide is applying its hydrogen expertise to the aerospace industry and developing more environmentally friendly solutions.
Hydrogen is a clean source of energy with great potential for applications in the aerospace industry. Air Liquide is developing high-pressure storage systems for liquid and gaseous hydrogen to power fuel cells on board aircraft. Used in a fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with water as the only by-product. The electricity produced can be used for a variety of applications, in particular when the aircraft is grounded.
Air Liquide is also developing mobile charging solutions that can be used in airports. The mobile charging station developed by Air Liquide is placed inside a hybrid lorry (petrol/electricity) that can be used to refuel aircraft by parking alongside it. The truck can store up to 300 liters of hydrogen. A compressor and a rack of hydrogen bottles located in the airport can be used to recharge the mobile station. This charging solution will be tested for Hycarus's first flight, to check the reliability and safety of charging in an airport.
Air Liquide is involved in many projects that concern hydrogen, including the European project Hycarus.
The Hycarus Project
In partnership with Zodiac Aerotechnics, Dassault Aviation and the CEA, Air Liquide is working on Hycarus, a European project that aims to show that fuel cells can be used on aircraft.
Fuel cells will be used to power the non-vital parts of the aircraft, like the galley (kitchen). Air Liquide has designed on-board hydrogen storage to power the fuel cell while the aircraft is in flight. Following a phase to define the fuel cell's requirements and expected performance, the group had to find components that would pass aerospace qualifications tests, and then assemble them. The tank, supplied by Air Liquide, and the fuel cell are currently being tested by Zodiac Aerotechnics. The first test flight will be organized at the end of 2017.
Air Liquide's expertise in the fields of aerospace and hydrogen energy has made it possible to meet the project members' needs as well as the constraints imposed by aerospace.
The project Hycarus has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement n° 325342
Ground logistics in airports (forklift trucks, platforms and baggage handling carts) can use hydrogen energy, which reduces pollution. Captive fleets that run on hydrogen increase productivity while reducing emissions at their place of use.
The Group supplies 35 to 70 MPa hydrogen charging stations suitable for fleets of utility vehicles and the specific requirements of the aerospace industry. Integrated directly on site, they can charge vehicles in less than 5 minutes.