Airbus to equip A330 with 500 kW fuel cell from H3 Dynamics

airbus fuel cell
Airbus to equip A330 with 500 kW fuel cell from H3 Dynamics

As part of its Airbus UpNext organisation, which develops the technologies for the future, Airbus has selected French-founded company, H3 Dynamics. The idea is to replace the auxiliary power system with a fuel cell. This is the first application of hydrogen on large aircraft.

At the last Paris Air Show, Airbus Upnext announced the launch of the Hypower project. The project is a demonstrator designed to generate electricity on board in carbon-free mode, using a fuel cell powered by 10 kg of hydrogen. This system will be tested on the ground and then on board an A330 in Spain*. The auxiliary power unit (APU) is engine powered and uses paraffin to produce electricity on a standard aircraft, emitting CO2 and NOx in the process.

A short term application

For this type of application, Airbus has chosen to work with H3 Dynamics. The company, founded by French nationals in Singapore, also has offices in Toulouse, where it is part of the Aerospace Valley cluster. It began by developing fuel cells for hydrogen-powered drones, before expanding its range to meet a wide variety of needs, ranging from 20 kW to 2 MW. A 500 kW fuel cell was therefore selected for the Airbus project. “This is a significant step towards low-carbon mobility,” comments H3 Dynamics in its press release. The company points out that the fuel cell application in an APU is an opportunity “in the short term”.

airbus fuel cell H3 Dynamics

Bertrand Gauthier, H3 Dynamics co-founder, explains: “It’s a high-power fuel cell adapted to the requirements of the aerospace industry. It is compatible with aviation environmental requirements (acceleration, vibration, inclination and temperature) and ready for integration in a commercial aircraft (CS25 category) with appropriate interfaces (mechanical, electrical, communication). “This is the fruit of close collaboration with Airbus”, Gauthier adds. The system will be realistically tested in the air at an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620 metres) for one hour.

A global approach to aeronautics

The company, headed by Taras Wankewycz, intends to play a key role in the decarbonisation of aviation. It continues to develop fuel cells for drones (a sector in which it was a finalist in the Monaco Hydrogen forum awards for its nacelle solution for distributing hybrid electric-hydrogen propulsion energy). But its aim is mainly to apply the fuel cells on the ground in machines operating on the tarmac and on board aircraft. In addition, it aims to produce green hydrogen and e-SAF with electrolysers to power airports, with the ambition of offering this product at $1 per kilo!

H3 Dynamics, which also has a facility in Austin (USA), will shortly be announcing new projects underway around the world.

*As part of a research project supported by the Spanish government

Do you want to learn more about Airbus? Then our latest articles about the company should interest you. You can access all our articles written about Airbus here.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn for regular content and updates!

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

If you liked it, share it

About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

Our latest articles

interactive world map