Construction of one of the world's first hydrogen-powered small aircraft
Innovative and future-oriented solutions for current problems
Designing a powertrain based on the existing prototype.
In addition, we design and build a hydrogen testing infrastructure, with all the necessary safety systems. This allows us to test our systems independently and gain more experience with our prototype.
The drive train consists of the fuel cell system, the hydrogen tanks, the power electronics, the backup battery and the electric motor. We thank our industrial partners who support us in this challenge.
The powertrain will be designed for a specific two-seat aircraft type and will be installed at a later stage.
With over 30 sensors and another 30 active or passive components, a fuel cell system is a complex challenge for our team. This is where advanced control engineering, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics meet. Due to the very specific requirements of a fuel cell, it is important to always operate the system at its optimal points.
Some of the most important components are described below:
Compressor and Inverter
The air is brought to the desired pressure in front of the fuel cell with a powerful compressor and a back-pressure valve. The inverter supplies the compressor with the necessary high-voltage power.
Air filter and piping
An air filter is used to protect the fuel cell from pollutants. The air piping consists of flexible hoses, which must be extended with transition parts depending on the mechanical connections of the components. The hoses are attached to the components with hose clamps.
Over 30 sensors monitor and control our system in order to record or further process all measurement variables. Precise sensor data is also needed for the complex control of the system. Measured variables include pressure, temperature, mass flow, humidity and conductivity.
Due to the low efficiency of fuel cells, almost half of the energy in the hydrogen is converted into heat. Therefore, our system must be cooled by a pump and a powerful heat exchanger. Depending on the required cooling capacity, the pump can be operated at the optimal control point.
Software and Controls
A self-designed main control unit, together with an extension module and a Raspberry Pi, takes over the reading, storage and further processing of the sensor data. The almost 20 different actuators are controlled on the main control unit. Via a web interface, all data can be displayed in various diagrams and monitored at any time.