The feasibility of using alternative energy solutions in general aviation is investigated; more specifically
the usage of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) technology, with the help of a constructed
reference case. The constructed case is a modified Socata TB20 GT aircraft, equipped with PEMFC
technology. Said reference case is then compared to the original 100LL setup with the help of analytical
and numerical aerodynamic analysis, as to get a measure of the difference in performance. Additionally,
a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is also performed on both the original and the reference case, in order to
get a measurement of how “green” said green technology actually is.
Going by the methods used in the report, it is shown feasible to use existing PEMFC technology
in order to get an air worthy aircraft, with performance matching the original setup, assuming
some modifications were made. Firstly, due to restrictions in size and weight, the Socata TB20 GT was
turned into a 2-seated plane. Secondly, the range of the new reference case was lower than the original,
100LL powered craft, yet still managing a flight time of 2h 30m on a maximum cruise speed of 310
km/h using adjustable propeller blades technology, or 280 km/h if making no modifications to the
original propeller design.
Additionally, the use of PEMFC technology is also proven to be the better alternative from
an environmental point of view, where the relative impact of 100LL fuel outweighs the comparatively
larger production impact of the PEMFC setup even at minor usage. This was done by evaluating a
constructed computer model using different usage patterns.
2013. , 38 p.