New hydrogen tank for aeronautical research

The vision of emission-free flying is becoming a bit more of a reality in Hamburg. The ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research has expanded its hydrogen infrastructure with a 20-metre-high, 100 m³ tank. The tank, provided by the company Air Products who will also supply the needed gaseous hydrogen, suddenly increases the capacities available at the research center twenty-fold. Together with Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation, the new infrastructure was officially inaugurated today, Wednesday.
The ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research offers more than 30 partners, including Airbus, DLR, Lufthansa Technik, and ZAL GmbH, extensive facilities for their research into the air transport industry of the future. One thing they all agree on is that hydrogen plays a key role in terms of climate neutrality.

 The background of the event could not be more topical. The aviation industry currently faces major challenges: On the one hand, it needs to survive the crisis brought about by the pandemic, while on the other hand – and at the same time – it must strive to make the future of flying emission free in order to save the planet. The scientific and technical steps needed for this are being developed at the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research.

Fuel Cell Lab at ZAL: 3.7 million euros invested since 2015

ZAL is a member of the Hamburg Aviation cluster and has been active in the field of hydrogen since 2009. ZAL GmbH operates the Fuel Cell Lab, rents out fuel cell laboratories, and offers consulting, development, and testing services in the field of fuel cell technology. The Fuel Cell Lab is a cross-sector research laboratory, both for aviation and other mobility applications. A total of approx. 3.7 million euros has been invested in the lab infrastructure since 2015. The 20-metre-high hydrogen tank from the company Air Products, which has now been put into operation, expands the possible test capacities on site by a factor of twenty. The 100 cubic meter storage tank keeps around 400 kilograms of hydrogen on site. The hydrogen is delivered from the Air Products plant in Stade, 30 km away.

ZAL’s focus is on the integration of fuel cell technologies. To achieve this, a total of 11 laboratories for fuel cell technology research are available

  • Development of fuel cell technologies
  • Design of hydrogen infrastructures
  • Secure supply of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen from pressure vessels
  • Provision of compressed air; air extraction system for up to 1,800 m³/h per test stand as well as cooling water supply up to 540 kWtherm
  • Environmentally friendly energy recovery into the Hamburg grid up to 200 kWel
  • Hangars for test stands capable of accommodating complete aircraft segments

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