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.

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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.

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