The Italians and European Union are preparing a light 2-seat airplane for takeoff powered by hydrogen fuel cell and lithium ion batteries. I’ve talked about manned hydrogen fuel cell airplanes before, with and without the aid of lithium ion batteries.
The Rapid 200-FC hydrogen fuel cell manned airplane has an electric 40 kW propeller and a 20 kW hydrogen fuel cell, made by British company Intelligent Energy. The fuel cell airplane also contains a 20 kW lithium polymer battery pack to add more power for takeoffs.
The hybrid fuel cell airplane has a couple of advantages over a conventional small plane. First, the hydrogen plane is a zero emissions vehicle that emits only water and heat as byproducts. Second, the FCV airplane is very quite.
Because of noise abatement issues, some airports limit the amount and size of airplanes that can takeoff and land especially at night. Near where I live all airplanes are barred from taking off after 9 pm. This kind of quite small plane would fit into the low noise mandate on airports such as this and expand the flying time for pilots and their companies.
This Rapid 200-FC is part of the European Community “ENFICA-FC” project (Environmentally Friendly Inter City Aircraft powered by Fuel Cells). The aircraft has just completed its first high speed taxiing test. The aircraft has been built, however, to attain a maximum speed of 110 mph.