CNH2 is testing hydrogen fuel cell systems for Airbus UpNext

Fuel cell test bench at the Centro Nacional de Hidrogeno in Puertollano, Spain. ©2024 Centro Nacional del Hidrógeno

Puertollano, June 4th 2024


Airbus UpNext, the technologies incubator of Airbus, has contracted Centro Nacional del Hidrógeno (CNH2) to test airworthy hydrogen fuel cells supplied by H3 Dynamics. These are important test campaigns supporting the development of a new Airbus UpNext demonstrator, called HyPower. HyPower aims at exploring the feasibility of the replacement of the aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with a hydrogen fuel cell system generating electricity.

An airliner’s APU usually runs on conventional aviation fuel, and powers many of the aircraft’s non-propulsive functions, such as air conditioning, in-flight lighting and avionics. Unlike main power propulsion applications that require several megawatts of constant power and thus a significant amount of hydrogen, non-propulsive energy systems present a near-term opportunity to support the decarbonization of the aerospace industry.

CNH2 has developed a dedicated test bench where fuel cells up to 200 kWe can be tested in flight conditions. The test bench provides the system with up to 300 kg of certified green hydrogen and inclines the system up to 40⁰ in different angles. It is equipped with dissipative and regenerative load-banks, plus all the control and instrumentation, safety devices and interlocks to allow for smooth long-tests.