FASTec Developing Fuel Cell Electric E-Plane

July 29, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

The Foundation for Advancing Science and Technology Education (FASTec) displayed a new, piloted, fuel cell airplane it is developing. The electric plane, called the E-plane, is a high-speed, all-carbon French DynAero Lafayette III, built and donated by American Ghiles Aircraft (Orlando, FL). It is being converted from a combustion engine to electric propulsion in three stages. The first flights, planned for 2002, will be on lithium-ion batteries. The next flights will be powered by a combination of lithium-ion batteries augmented with a fuel cell. The final flights will be powered entirely by a hydrogen fuel cell with a range of over 500 miles.

"As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' original flight, we are embarking on a whole new type of aviation propulsion. The technology for electric-powered flight exists today, and we are integrating it into a high-performance general aviation aircraft," said James Dunn, executive director of FASTec.