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Hindenburg’s Revenge

August 18, 2009

The first human-piloted hydrogen-powered aircraft, developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and built by Lange Aviation, made a 10-minute maiden flight in July in Hamburg, Germany. Don’t expect fuel-cell-based jetliners anytime soon; actually, the most likely ETA for such aircraft is never, since fuel cells have a power-to-weight ratio that makes large planes impractical. But the Antares DLR-H2, which uses a 25-kilowatt fuel cell, has far less lofty ambitions. It is a motor-assisted glider, capable of taking off by itself. Lufthansa Technik Group, an independent spinoff of the airline that focuses on aircraft repair and overhaul, will use the aircraft as a test bed. The company is looking ahead to a day when fuel cells will supply planes with onboard electrical power.

Product: Antares DLR-H2
Cost: N/A
Source: www.dlr.de/en
Companies: Lange Aviation, BASF Fuel Cells, and Serenergy AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer

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