Boeing to Study Fuel Cell Electric Technology

November 27, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Boeing Co. (Seattle, WA) reported plans to develop and test an electrically powered airplane to see if fuel cell technology can make jets more environmentally friendly. The goal will be to use fuel cells and electric motors for auxiliary power instead of gas turbines.

"Fuel cells show the promise of one day providing efficient, essentially pollution-free electrical power," said Dave Daggett, a researcher in Boeing's environmental performance strategy group. "Our ultimate goal is to replace the auxiliary power unit, but first, we're going to learn more about fuel cells by powering a small airplane and, as the technology matures, use fuel cells to power an aircraft electrical system."

Most of the work will be done in Madrid, Spain, where researchers will design and integrate the experimental airplane's control system. Test flights are scheduled to begin in early 2004.