Electric Ultra-Light Powered By Fuel Cells

Zero-emissions, ultra-light flight? That’s the Rapid 200-FC, an aircraft that makes innovative use of a fuel cell and li-po battery to provide up-in-the-air-thrills and 45 minutes worth of transportation (at 83 mph) to boot.

According to Ecofriend, the group behind the Rapid 200-FC, known as ENFICA-FC, comprises 10 partners from across the EU who seek to demonstrate the viability of manned flight in an electric aircraft based on fuel cells as a main power supply. Their ultra-light aircraft design, featuring a zero-emission propulsion system, completed its maiden voyage in May of this year, powered by an electric hybrid system comprised of a 20KW PEM fuel cell and a 20KW Li-Po battery.

Rapic 200-FC

image via Ecofriend

On this first voyage–designed to see what a fuel-cell-powered electric aircraft could do–pilot Marco Locatelli attained level cruising altitude at at 700ft and managed 130kph (80 mph) on a partial fuel cell power setting. Since then, further flights have pushed the aircraft’s top speed up to 135kph (83 mph), a new world record for the electrically powered class C aircraft. It has also demonstrated good handling in the air and satisfactory mechanical performance.

Like what you are reading? Follow us on RSS, Twitter and Facebook to get green technology news updates throughout the day and chat with other green tech lovers.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.