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2 March, 2021

Boeing`s electric plane is cleared for take-off

01 January, 2002

Boeing`s electric plane is cleared for take-off

Boeing is building an electrically powered aircraft as part of a study to evaluate the use of fuel cell technologies in future projects. The aircraft giant plans to convert a small, single-engined aircraft by replacing its conventional engine with a new power system consisting of fuel cells and an electric motor that will drive its propeller.

Boeing does not expect electric motors to replace jet engines on commercial aircraft, but believes that they could oust the gas-turbine-driven auxiliary power units (APUs) that produce electricity and air while aircraft are on the ground, and act as a backup in flight. Fuel cell generators should be cleaner, quieter than APUs and could produce twice as much power from the same amount of fuel.

"Our ultimate goal is to replace the APU," says Dave Daggett, of Boeing`s environmental performance strategy group. "But first, we`re going to learn more about fuel cells by powering a small airplane."

Much of the work on the electric aircraft will be done at Boeing`s new research and technology centre in Madrid, Spain. Others involved in the project include NASA, car-makers and several European universities. The first test flights are planned for early 2004.

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