March 28, 2007 With all the effort we are witnessing in developing environmentally progressive technologies for automotive applications, it’s great to see that Boeing researchers and industry partners throughout Europe are planning to conduct experimental flight tests this year of a manned airplane powered only by a fuel cell and lightweight batteries. The systems integration phase of the Boeing Research and Technology Europe (BR&TE) Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane research project was completed recently and thorough systems integration testing is now under way in preparation for upcoming ground and flight testing. The Boeing demonstrator uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor, which is coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell provides all power for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the flight segment that requires the most power, the system draws on lightweight lithium-ion batteries.
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