The H2Sky project is receiving the highest level of funding ever received by an individual project under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. Parliamentary State Secretary Kluckert (BMDV) presented the funding notice last Friday at the Airbus site in Finkenwerder.

Last Friday at the Finkenwerder Airbus site, Parliamentary State Secretary Daniela Kluckert from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport awarded the funding to H2Sky, a future-oriented project for using fuel cells in aviation. The project’s goal is to carry out the development and the pre-industrialisation of 100-200 kW fuel cell stack for use in the main propulsion system of an airplane. The starting point is an industrialised stack platform optimised for automotive use that has been developed by Elring Klinger. It has to be further developed for the requirements of aviation.

The overall grant is around €26.5 million, with around €18 million self-financed from the consortium, totalling an overall project volume of over €44 million. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is participating through the Aerostack joint venture, which is receiving about €17 million in funding for the project.

In addition to Aerostack GmbH, the other project partners are EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH, Hahn Schickard, Fraunhofer ISE, TU Munich, ZSW Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research and IMTEK University Freiburg.

Aerostack GmbH is a joint venture of Airbus and Elring Klinger to develop and commercialise fuel cells for passenger aviation. As a European joint corporation, Airbus’ ZEROe strategy aims for a production-ready passenger airplane operated on a hydrogen and fuel cell basis by the year 2035 (possibly 2030). This is to be used over medium distances, for example, for destinations within Europe.

The use of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in aviation is regarded as having huge potential for decarbonizing this transport sector. Under NIP II (since 2017), around €75 million was made available by the BMDV for components and system development with hydrogen and fuel cells in the aviation sector.

The H2Sky project comprises the development of a fuel cell stack which can be integrated in the application, from basic development to long-term tests. Through the collaboration of participating project partners with their wide-ranging experience in their respective fields, innovative concepts are being specially developed for the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), the bipolar plate and other stack materials, tested for the fulfilment of aviation requirements and different technologies and manufacturing pathways evaluated. Through H2Sky, Aerostack GmbH aims to develop manufacturing pathways and operating strategies for an aviation-oriented stack that can be produced in high numbers and provided for aviation applications. H2Sky therefore represents an important step on the road to widespread use of hydrogen systems in aviation.

Further information on grants and projects in this area can be found here:

Image rights: Airbus