Fuel cells for power generation and additional purposes aboard aircraft have a promising potential to contribute to making aircraft greener and thus to 'greening of air transport' which is a superior goal of European policy of climate change. GREENAIR is addressing one of the key problems for fuel cell application aboard an aircraft - the generation of Hydrogen from Jet fuel (Kerosene) which will be the aeronautic fuel for the next decades also.
Support the development of more electric aircraft:
- replacement of hydraulic and pneumatic actuators with electric actuators;
- better management of energy use;
- decrease of operation costs (maintenance).
with alternative approaches to on-board energy generation. The use of H2 powered fuel cells with high energy efficiency through on-board H2 generation from kerosene.
While mainstream fuel processors (e.g. autothermal reforming) have been intensely investigated already, GREENAIR focussed on two novel and unconventional methods to overcome some hurdles of mainstream reforming technologies:
- Microwave Plasma Assisted Reforming (PAF), goal: development from TRL3 to TRL5;
- Partial Dehydrogenation fuel processing (PDh), goal: development from TRL2 to TRL4;
- Kerosene Fractionation will be investigated in addition. It shall extract fractions out of Kerosene favourable for reforming to facilitate the PAF and the PDh processes.
The physical and chemical fundamentals of these methods were elaborated. Furthermore, aircraft integration and safety concepts were elaborated. For both methods, breadboard fuel processor systems were built and tested for proof of concepts under standard and simulated flight conditions. Widespread dissemination via a website, publications and conference contributions and a special Forum will be ensured. Training and education of young scientists is foreseen.
GREENAIR combines 13 beneficiaries from 7 European countries which are from aircraft and fuel cell related industry as well as institutes and SME's excelling in fuel cell and catalysis R&D. It established links to the JTIs ( CLEANSKY and Fuel Cells and Hydrogen ) to maximise synergies. The consortium of this project is well balanced in terms of the mix (also geographically): two SME's, seven Academia and four industry partners.
Physical and chemical fundamentals of partial dehydrogenation were studied using a surrogate model fluid, containing well known species to represent the different types (linear, cyclic) in kerosene enabling an interpretation of test results. Catalysts have been developed and activity has been proven on the surrogate, as well as on desulphurised kerosene. The project also looked at increasing the sulphur tolerance of the catalyst, avoidance of coke formation and at durability.
A 1 kW system has been designed on this base. Also a new design was developed for a microwave reformer block, enabling increase in the kerosene flow while operating at higher temperature so that the microwave energy waste could be reduced. The overall optimisation of the microwave system has been supported by both modelling and experimental testing. Further to this, a new subsystem was developed so as to enable heat recovery from the exhaust system.
A 5 kW system has been designed. Several fractionation concepts have been studied. A fractionation based on rectification showed interesting results in reducing the sulphur content.
Using fuel cells for power generation and additional purposes aboard aircraft.
The partial dehydrogenation ('PDH') of hydrocarbon blends may be a suitable way to produce H2 on-board of automotives or airplanes to feed fuel cells and produce electric power, thus avoiding storage problems. In this project data have been collected using Jet A1 surrogate and Pt–Sn/γ-Al2O3 catalysts, operating at 450 °C and feeding the vaporised hydrocarbon blend without any carrier gas. The use of Pt/Sn catalyst with 1:1 ratio leads to the best compromise between activity and stability with time-on-stream, due to the formation of Pt-rich alloys. Nevertheless, studied catalysts exhibited limited thio-tolerance. In optimized reaction conditions, a H2 productivity of 3000 NL/kgcat/h sufficient to produce 3 kW of electric power, considering purification steps and a fuel efficiency of 50%, was obtained.
Innovating for the future (technology and behaviour):
- A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy
- Promoting more sustainable development