Remember the pictures of the first computer the size of a big room? It’s the same for Airbus’ latest ZEROe hydrogen fuel-cell demonstrator engine. The countless components, plumbing, stacks, and electronics take up a significant part of the E-Aircraft System House (EAS) test facility on the Airbus Defence & Space site in Ottobrunn near Munich. But move fast forward three years, and the hydrogen fuel-cell engine should fit a normally-sized engine nacelle on the A380 flight test demonstrator aircraft. Just like how the room-sized computer nowadays fits into your smartphone. Airbus’ ZEROe engine works but needs some serious shrink-wrapping.
Airbus offered the media a chance to tour the test facilities and learn all about them on the second day of the Airbus Summit this week. On Day 1 in Toulouse, the airframer said that significant progress had been made on developing a 1 Megawatt electric engine that uses hydrogen and oxygen in fuel cells to generate electricity. On Day 2, the media saw the real thing, called the fuel cell iron pod.
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