The ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research in Hamburg has expanded its hydrogen infrastructure with the addition of a 20-metre-high tank.

The tank has been provided by Air Products who will also supply gaseous hydrogen and will increase the current capacity available at the research centre twenty-fold. The new infrastructure was officially inaugurated last week by Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation.

The ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research offers more than 30 partners, including Airbus, DLR, Lufthansa Technik, and ZAL GmbH, extensive facilities for research into the air transport industry of the future. All of the partners have agreed that hydrogen will play a key role towards an emission-free future in terms of climate neutrality.

€3.7 million invested in Fuel Cell Lab 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 for aviation and other mobility applications. Approximately €3.7 million euros has been invested in the lab infrastructure since 2015.

The 100 cubic metre storage tank keeps around 400 kilograms of hydrogen on site. The hydrogen is delivered from the Air Products plant in Stade, 30 km away.

Hydrogen holds the key to sustainable aviation

Roland Gerhards, CEO of ZAL GmbH: “Hydrogen as an energy carrier is the central key technology when it comes to making aviation more sustainable. The idea of utilising regenerative hydrogen has been around for decades, but it is only the combination of today’s technologies and the public demand for greater sustainability that is enabling the transformation of air transport. I am proud that as a research topic hydrogen already has a long history at ZAL, and that we are driving the development of this important technology with our facilities and the new H2 tank at the ZAL TechCenter.”

Dr André Walter, Chairman of the Board of Management of Airbus Commercial in Germany and head of the Hamburg site added: “Hydrogen technology plays a key role for Airbus as is illustrated by our ZEROe concept aircraft, for example. However, the future utilisation of this forward-looking energy source in commercial aviation is a team effort and can only succeed if we work together. We are therefore very pleased that the Hamburg region is taking the lead here in close cooperation between the political, scientific, and economic spheres. ZAL and its research infrastructure are an indispensable platform for developing the necessary technologies. We look forward to expanding this cooperation.”

ZAL’s focus is on the integration of fuel cell technologies with a total of 11 laboratories for fuel cell technology research available.

L-R: Dr. Sebastian Altmann, Senior Expert Fuel Cell Lab ZAL GmbH, Michael Westhagemann, Wirtschaftssenator von Hamburg, Nicole Dreyer-Langlet, Vice President Research & Technology Airbus und Roland Gerhards, CEO ZAL GmbH, aufgenommen am 04.08.2021 am neuen Wasserstofftank am ZAL Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung in Hamburg. Foto: Daniel Reinhardt/ZAL


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