Fuel-cell powered flying car

The Hyfish, an experimental unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells, was successfully flown in Bern, Switzerland.

The Hyfish is a model jet that's powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The Hyfish is a model jet that's powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Team Smartfish

Well, it's really a jet. And, it's only a model. But the Hyfish is a model prototype for a real two-person jet aircraft. This particular prototype uses an electric jet motor that gets its juice from a hydrogen fuel cell and was successfully flown in Bern, Switzerland. The Hyfish prototype was developed by a consortium of public and private entities, with the base aircraft built by Team Smartfish and the hydrogen fuel cell system provided by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies. Team Smartfish is a Swiss company working on a new type of jet aircraft, called Smartfish, which could be produced for applications as small as an unmanned aircraft or as large as a business jet. The Hyfish prototype may be more of a publicity stunt, as the published specifications for the Smartfish don't say what type of power plant it will use, just that it needs to produce 900 to 1,000 pound of thrust.

Boeing develops a more realistic fuel-cell airplane for personal transport.
Boeing develops a more realistic fuel-cell airplane for personal transport. Boeing

However, Boeing is developing a hydrogen fuel-cell small airplane that's supposed to be flight-tested in Spain later this year. The awkwardly named Boeing Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane uses a conventional prop turned by an electric motor. Its power system uses lightweight lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. The Boeing Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane is designed to cruise at 62mph. The company doesn't envision hydrogen fuel cells powering commercial passenger aircraft but sees it as a possibility for small manned aircraft. May we suggest a flying car?

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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