Oct 2, 2008 | 1
The German Aerospace Center (aka DLR) Tuesday demonstrated the world's first hydrogen fuel cell only powered airplane, which took off, flew and then landed in Stuttgart, Germany. This was the first time such an aircraft was able to take off using the energy from fuel cells.
The single-prop Antares DLR-H2 glider (developed by DLR and Lange Aviation GmbH) was powered by a BASF high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which fed its electrical output to the battery pack that turned the electric motor of the propeller. Two external pods that house the fuel cell system and the hydrogen tanks ride beneath the glider's wings. The PEM fuel cell—which operates at 248 to 356 degrees Fahrenheit (120 to 180 degrees Celsius)—is designed to efficiently burn hydrogen less pure than that needed by lower-temperature fuel cells.
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