Boeing expects to have a 20kW fuel cell/battery hybrid powerplant installed in its Diamond Aircraft HK36 Super Dimona demonstrator next month, although the aircraft's first flight may not take place until 2005 (Flight International, 6-12 May).

Earlier this month Boeing selected Advanced Technology Products of the USA, Diamond of Austria, Intelligent Energy of the UK and Spanish companies Aérlyper and Sener as partners in the project.

Boeing is hoping to start flight testing the modified aircraft late next year or early in 2005, and is optimistic that fuel cell technology could be incorporated in future commercial aircraft. "While fuel cells and electric motors will not replace jet engines, they could potentially replace APUs [auxiliary power units], which provide electricity and air for aircraft systems," says Boeing.

The Polytechnic Universities of Catalonia and Madrid and NASA are also involved in the project.

Source: Flight International