03. August 2023

FEV presents hydrogen-adapted aviation engine at Paris Air Show

FEV has developed an hydrogen-fired engine for small aircrafts in a consortium with seven partners

Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, June 2023 - FEV, a globally leading provider of engineering, development, testing and consulting services for the sustainable, intelligent mobility and clean energy markets, has successfully converted a light aviation engine to hydrogen in collaboration with seven partners from the NAE Cluster of Excellence. The technology demonstrator was shown earlier this month at the world-renowned Paris Air Show.

For over 40 years, FEV has been working on multi-energy combustion engines and currently has numerous hydrogen projects are underway, involving both fuel cell and hydrogen combustion technologies. Building on its experience and commitment to innovation, FEV recently completed the engineering of a 100% hydrogen combustion engine for light aviation, working in collaboration with seven partners: Agilink, CHANTREUIL, CORREGE, Demgy, LTP, SAB Industries, and TEI. A demonstrator of this engine was presented to attendees of the Paris Air Show at the NAE (Normandie AeroEspace) technology center.

Technical highlights of the engine included air and fuel systems that were redesigned specifically for use with hydrogen. In particular, a high-performance turbocharger, a new injection rail, specific injectors, and a high-pressure manifold were implemented. As safety is a core concern, specific instrumentation and controllers for managing the hydrogen supply were integrated, as well as an innovative hydrogen sensor.

Engine specifications:

  • Fuel: 100% Hydrogen
  • Emission: < 1 g CO2/kWh
  • 75 kW* (102 hp) at 5,800 rpm with two H2 injectors/cylinder
  • H₂ consumption: 6.82 kg/h at 75 kW
  • Air flow required: 520 kg/h
  • 4-stroke flat 4 cylinder engine with 1,300 cm² of capacity
  • Port fuel injection
  • Stoichiometry limited to λ = 2 (ratio O2/fuel)
  • Hydrogen tank storage pressure: 350 bars

*Theoretical power calculated with compressor limitation at compression ratio 2:1

Hydrogen: a promising way to reduce carbon footprint

The solutions needed to decarbonize industry and transport are multi-faceted. The technologies required to develop carbon neutral transportation are cross-functional, extending to all forms of mobility, from passenger cars to aeronautics. FEV's expertise in the fields of electric mobility and hydrogen applications enable the company to rapidly develop robust solutions to serve these emerging markets.

Regarding environmental issues and a focus on meeting the decarbonization goals of the aerospace industry, the use of green hydrogen as a fuel is steadily gaining notoriety as a high value-added and realistic solution. By adapting existing engines, FEV and the industry as a whole can drastically reduce emissions while keeping conversion costs under control. As an added benefit, hydrogen’s high calorific value actually improves performance at high engine speeds.

Developing the future of carbon-neutral mobility

At FEV France, the company’s 650 employees offer engineering expertise and services for the development of clean, innovative mobility through two technical centers: Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, featuring 30 test benches and accounting for all propulsion technologies. As part of the French government’s France Relance Plan, FEV has also invested in three test beds at its Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray site (Seine Maritime): two for the development of hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, and one dedicated to fuel cell development, with a capacity of up to 240 kW (326 hp).

FEV’s French subsidiary also offers operational safety, testing of rotating machines and mechanical components, battery and electrical machine testing, test bench engineering and more.