April 23, 2016

HY4 – Technology

Electrically powered, locally emission-free passenger aircraft are set to make the transport of the future more sustainable and flexible. They have the potential to bring electromobility to the skies in the coming decades, networking with ground-based transport carriers, and thus making travel faster and easier for passengers.


Drive train successfully tested in the laboratory

The HY4’s drive train consists of a hydrogen storage unit, a low-temperature hydrogen fuel cell and a high performance battery. The fuel cell converts the energy of the hydrogen fuel directly into electrical energy. The only waste product in the process is clean water. The electric motor uses the power generated to propel the aircraft. If the hydrogen required for the fuel cell is generated via electrolysis using power from a renewable energy source, the HY4 can fly without generating any emissions at all.

The HY4 has a motor output of 80 kilowatts, a maximum speed of approximately 200 kilometres per hour and a cruising speed of 145 kilometres per hour. Depending on speed, altitude and load, it can achieve a range of between 750 and 1500 kilometres. The most striking feature of the HY4 is its twin fuselages, each with space for two passengers. The maximum weight of the aircraft is 1500 kilograms. „With the HY4, we now have an optimal platform to continue developing the use of fuel cells on aircraft,“ says Josef Kallo, responsible for the HY4 project at DLR and a Professor at the University of Ulm. „Small passenger aircraft, such as the HY4, could soon be used in regional transport as electric air taxis and offer a flexible and rapid alternative to existing means of transport.“