Antares DLR-H2, the world’s first piloted aircraft capable of taking off using only power from fuel cells, demonstrated this capability at Hamburg Airport. Antares DLR-H2 has been developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The Antares flies with zero CO2 emissions and has a much lower noise footprint than other, comparable, motor gliders. The propulsion system for this aircraft was developed at the DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics (Institut für Technische Thermodynamik – Stuttgart) in collaboration with its project partners – Lange Aviation, BASF Fuel Cells and Serenergy (Denmark). This motor glider achieves new quality standards in the field of high-efficiency, zero-emission energy conversion and clearly demonstrates the progress that has been made in fuel cell technology.
The centrepiece and greatest innovation on the Antares DLR-H2 is the fact that it is powered directly by means of an ultra-efficient fuel cell. “We have improved the performance capabilities and efficiency of the fuel cell to such an extent that a piloted aircraft is now able to take off using it,” stated Prof. Dr-Ing Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board at DLR. “This enables us to demonstrate the true potential of this technology, also and perhaps specifically for applications in the aerospace sector. Coupled with our expertise in fuel cell technology, DLR’s many years of extensive experience in gaining official approval for aerospace systems are what made the Antares DLR-H2 a feasible proposition.”