Watch a video: History of Hydrogen; Boeing Aircraft Flown With a Fuel Cell.
The US aerospace giant's Boeing Research & Technology Europe (BR&TE) business unit in Madrid, Spain announced Thursday April 3rd, 2008, that aviation history was made. For the first time, a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells has been flown.
The airplane has 2 seats and a 53 and 1/2 foot' wing span. Modified by Boeing Research and Technology Europe, the aircraft includes a proton exchange fuel cell lithium ion battery hybrid system. The power output feeds an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.
The airplane reached an altitude of 3300' above sea level. It used combination power from batteries and the hydrogen fuel cells to reach the 3300'. After the pilot reached the altitude of 3300', the batteries were disconnected. The pilot flew at 60 miles per hour (MPG) for 20 minutes on just the hydrogen fuel cells.
Water was the aircraft's only direct exhaust, other than heat. Boeing will continue to investigate the potential of hydrogen fuel cells.
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