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CELINA
Fuel Cell Application in a New Configured Aircraft

Background

The CELINA project meets the goals of Vision 2020 in respect of:

  • more efficient aircraft
  • improving passenger comfort
  • less negative environmental impact.

The application of fuel cell systems is a step towards more electric aircraft configuration. The expected improvements for fuel cells applied in power supply are a reduction of fuel consumption, noise and gas emissions and significantly higher aircraft efficiency. This efficiency improvement is due to a more efficient fuel conversion in comparison to the current APU

Project objectives

  • Generation of basic aircraft requirements for a fuel cell power system regarding safety and certification, including safety assessment.
  • Generation of emergency power supply network requirements, including power conversion.
  • Investigation of the technical capabilities of an existing fuel cell system under aircraft operating conditions and identification of the needs for aircraft design.
  • Investigation of the behaviour and limiting conditions of the fuel cell system in terms of different system parameters, such as performance output, electrical, thermal and mass flow management, and air supply.
  • Definition of a controller and fuel cell control laws based on airworthiness requirements.
  • Generation of aircraft integration strategies and simulation within the aircraft environment.


Description of the work

In next-generation aircraft, pneumatic and hydraulic systems will be gradually replaced by electrical systems. The goal for the future is to find a highly efficient primary electric power source. Fuel cell systems have the potential to become this primary power source. As a nearer-term application with higher adoption probability, the project will investigate using a fuel cell-based system as an emergency power supply. A feasibility study will be carried out to clarify in which operational scenarios (for example stand-by, continuous running or power storage) the fuel cell system is able to work. The technical focus of the project is therefore the investigation of the technical capabilities of an existing fuel cell system under aircraft operating conditions and the identification of the needs for an airworthy design. Investigations of the behaviour and limiting conditions of the fuel cell system in terms of different system parameters, such as performance output, thermal management, mass flow, cooling and air supply, will be carried out. For these investigations, dynamic simulation models of a fuel cell stack and a kerosene reformer will be used and validated as far as possible by tests. The operational behaviour of the complete fuel cell system, including the kerosene reformer, fuel cell stack, air supply and all subsystems, will be investigated in terms of aircraft environment operational conditions, load conditions, thermal management, mass flow, performance, air supply and cooling, based on simulation models. The differences between the current fuel cell systems and an airworthy design will be worked out and the technical steps that have to be taken to develop such a system will be deduced. Another focus of the project is the definition of all relevant safety and certification requirements for the fuel cell system; a preliminary safety assessment for a fuel cell system aboard an aircraft will be carried out. A further es-sential task is the integration trade-off study of the fuel cell system into the aircraft environment, including the investigation of integration strategies and concepts.

Expected results

  • Definition of certification and safety requirements including safety assessment confirmed by EASA.
  • Definition of aircraft electrical network and advanced air-conditioning system requirements.
  • Identification of the differences between the current fuel cell systems and an aircraft-applicable design.
  • Identification of the technical steps, which have to be taken to develop an airworthy fuel cell power system.
  • Development of aircraft integration concepts and strategies.
  • Determination of fuel cell system behaviour under aircraft operating conditions.
  • Accurate operational scenarios for fuel cell systems aboard an aircraft.

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