Advent Technologies is partnering with Airbus to evaluate Advent’s membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) and its Ion Pair MEA against aviation requirements and for their technological abilities, exploring their use in hydrogen fuel cells.
Membrane electrode assemblies are the core component of hydrogen fuel cells, which may be used to support emissions-free, hydrogen-powered aviation. Advent’s HT-PEM MEA addresses thermal management, a common challenge in using fuel cells for aviation, as it may operate at temperatures above 180 degrees Celsius.
Airbus will provide financial support for the project along with aviation expertise, while Advent will provide materials, research centers, and other resources that may contribute to the goal of the project of meeting the requirements of future hydrogen-fueled airplanes. The project is expected to commence in January 2024 and will reportedly take place over two years.
“We are pleased to announce that Airbus and Advent have aligned visions and efforts to achieve hydrogen flight,” said Chris Kaskavelis, chief strategy officer of Advent Technologies. “Both companies believe that HT-PEM is a promising technology to be benchmarked and developed as it can enable better thermal management for airplanes. We are excited to join this multi-year project with Airbus.”
Beyond air travel, the project will also explore how the MEA models may significantly reduce the weight and volume of hydrogen powertrain systems used for heavy-duty trucking, in the automotive industry, and marine use.
Hydrogen’s Role in Aviation Decarbonization
Although a comparatively new technology, hydrogen-powered test flights have already seen some success as a feasible option for decarbonizing aviation.
Air travel currently relies heavily on fossil fuels, but the sector has been exploring how alternative power sources may be used to eventually achieve emissions-free flight. In September, several major aviation companies created the Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance, with the goal of accelerating the potential use of hydrogen power in the industry.
Some studies estimate that hydrogen-derived air travel could be ready as early as 2035, but the technology still has a long way to go before achieving widespread adoption. In the meantime, many airlines have committed to using sustainable aviation fuels, feedstock-derived fuel alternatives that may reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%.