Project H2

Project H2

Vision

Construction of one of the world's first hydrogen-powered small aircraft

Innovative and future-oriented solutions for current problems

Zero-emission Aviation

Current Goal

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.

Our System

Unser Prototyp

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.

Sensors

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.

Cooling pump

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.

Project history

25. November 2022
The new team starts with the detailed concept of the new powertrain

In the last two months, the new team has settled into the new environment, taken on the many responsibilities and delved into individual areas of specialization. After some rough concepts, we now start with the finalization of the detailed concept. We look forward to announcing exciting news soon.

6 May 2022
Starts of the subtests

Although many sensors and other components are still stuck somewhere between production and delivery, we were able to carry out some tests on 5 May, for example to control the cooling pump with different signals. Further tests will follow in the course of the next few weeks.

25 April 2022
Structure of the test stand

On a sunny spring morning, we set up our metal framework for the test stand outside the hangar. With the help of Item's aluminium profiles and grooved plates, we can later attach all the components directly and still be very flexible if there are any small changes.

8 April 2022
Review 3

In the longer time between the test phase in February and Review 3, we have made great progress. The current status is that all components are in the hangar or at least ordered and that we will soon be ready to carry out the first tests. The biggest point that will still occupy us now is the software and the control system.

1 April 2022
Simulations with Gamma Technologies

The sensitive membrane of the fuel cell requires very precise values of temperature, mass flow and pressure of the air and hydrogen in the fuel cell. To obtain these values, we created a digital twin on Gamma Technologies. This model can later be used to design the various controllers using Simulink.

10 March 2022
Design of the Main Control Unit

For the control and regulation of our system, we decided to develop our own main control unit. So we started to design a circuit board on a professional programm and after several weeks we were finally able to send it to production. The assembly and testing will follow in the near future.

1 March 2022
Complete CAD Assembly

One of the most important milestones in our case was the complete assembly of our system in as compact a form as possible. Although the system will not be installed in an aircraft yet, it is still important to us to make the whole thing as compact as possible. After several challenging and time-consuming iterations, we are happy with the final result.

14 December 2021
Review 2

In Review 2, we were again able to bring the audience up to date on the project. Both modules have again gained a lot of new knowledge since the last review and were able to make further theoretical or practical progress on the aircraft and the fuel cell system. More information can be found in our blog post.

To the Blog

5 December 2021
EH-Group as a Partner

We are proud to announce that the Swiss company EH-Group, which is based in Nyon, has entered into a partnership with us. The young company produces fuel cells and also develops complete systems. So they can support us with their know-how in our project in the best possible way. 

5 November 2021
Review 1

On Friday morning, 5 November, Review 1 of the new e-Sling project took place. The two modules, hydrogen and aeroplane, had to present their progress of the last months in a 20-minute presentation each. Afterwards, all those present were allowed to ask questions. The presentations finally flow into the final grade of the focus project.

To the Blog

20/21 October 2021
Hydrogen Expo Bremen

For two days, a group of focus students from e-Sling visited the Hydrogen Expo in Bremen. They were able to make important contacts there and secure one or two supports from larger industrial partners.

To the Blog

2 October 2021
RollOut Event e-Sling

Over 200 people attended the RollOut of the e-Sling Team 2020/21, including sponsors, patrons, family members, team members and supporters. Besides the big unveiling of the plane, Dominic Gisin's speech and the flight raffle were definitely a highlight.

To the Blog

21 September 2021
Start Focus project

On the very first day of the new semester, we sat together as a new focus team and had our first meeting. Tasks were assigned, goals formulated and initial strategies explained. The first contacts were already made and we began to feel really comfortable in the team!