GM and Liebherr to Develop HYDROTEC Fuel Cell Power Generation System for Aircraft

General Motors and Liebherr-Aerospace join forces to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power generation demonstration system for aircraft. The two companies will explore the possibilities of developing an integrated system, adapted to the performance and economic requirements of commercial aircraft.

Construction and testing of this demonstrator, based in part on GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology, will take place in a specialized multi-system integration testing laboratory at Liebherr-Aerospace in Toulouse (France). The demonstrator will incorporate GM’s precision engineered fuel cells, the HYDROTEC power cube and fuel cell system, as well as GM’s controls and models.

GM, through its relationship with Honda, is one of the world’s most advanced fuel cell developers in many industrial fields, now entering aerospace. GM’s fuel cell business benefits from decades of investing in engineering and manufacturing expertise with high volume processes that can bring economies of scale to fuel cell production.

Airplanes are an excellent litmus test for the strength and versatility of our HYDROTEC fuel cells. Our technology can meet customer needs in a wide range of uses – land, sea, air or rail, and this collaboration with Liebherr could open up new possibilities for aircraft in transition to alternative energy sources.

—GM Executive Director – Global HYDROTEC Charlie Freese

Liebherr is one of the world’s leading suppliers of integrated on-board systems for aircraft. Liebherr’s integrated aircraft system concept benefits from decades of investment in thermal management and on-board energy management.

Switching from the conventional system to a power generation system based on hydrogen technology means major changes to the systems on board the aircraft that could result in better and more efficient performance of the aircraft. This is what we want to prove and test thoroughly. The advantage of GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology is that it has shown promise in large automotive and military programs, where it has proven to be reliable from an engineering and manufacturing standpoint. We develop low emission aerospace solutions.

—Francis Carla, Managing Director and CTO, Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS

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