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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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Fuel processing technology with BTL and reformer fuel cell systems


Conventional systems on board aircraft often have only one single function. Electrical energy is supplied by generators located close to the aircraft engines, so-called auxiliary power units (APUs), and by batteries. A system referred to as the fuel tank inerting system (FTIS) is used to inert the tank. The water required for this task is stored in additional tanks on board. These individual systems increase the weight of aircraft and make their architecture more complicated. If fuel cell systems are used in aircraft, energy can be converted and water and inert gas can be produced by one single system. Water tanks, conventional APUs and FTISs can all be dispensed with, and generators and batteries can be downsized. These measures reduce fuel consumption, increase the overall efficiency of aircraft and enable the low-emission operation of aircraft in flight and, in particular, on the ground. From an economic perspective, this means that cost-intensive airport equipment, such as that required for refilling the water tanks, would no longer be necessary. Furthermore, eliminating the above-mentioned systems reduces the cost of purchasing, maintaining and operating aircraft. The BGS and HPB departments of IEK-3 contribute to the technological development of such fuel cell systems within the framework of EFFESYS/BRINKS.

Cooperation Partner:

Airbus Deutschland