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Performance and Failure Analysis of a Retrofitted Cessna Aircraft with a Fuel Cell Power System Fuelled with Liquid Hydrogen


Proton-Exchange Membrane-Fuel Cells (PEM-FC) are regarded as one of the prime candidates to provide emissions-free electricity for propulsion systems of aircraft. Here, a turbocharged Fuel Cell Power System (FCPS) powered with liquid H2 (LH2) is designed and modelled to provide a primary power source in retrofitted Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft. The proposed FCPS comprises multiple PEM-FCs assembled in stacks, two single-stage turbochargers to mitigate the variation of the ambient pressure with altitude, two preheaters, two humidifiers, and two combustors. Interlinked component sub-models are constructed in MATLAB and referenced to commercially available equipment. The FCPS model is used to simulate steady-state responses in a proposed 1.5 h (∼350 km) mission flight, determining the overall efficiency of the FCPS at 43% and hydrogen consumption of ∼28 kg/h. The multi-stack FCPS is modelled applying parallel fluidic and electrical architectures, analysing two power-sharing methods: equally distributed and daisy-chaining. The designed LH2-FCPS is then proposed as a power system to a retrofitted Cessna 208 Caravan, and with this example analysed for the probability of failure occurrence. The results demonstrate that the proposed “dual redundant” FCPS can reach failure rates comparable to commercial jet engines with a rate below 1.6 failures per million hours.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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