Hydrogen as an alternative propulsion system

Research into alternative propulsion systems in air transport and shipping

In order to reduce emissions in aviation and shipping, the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics is developing fuel cell drive trains and energy systems for mobile applications in the megawatt range. Another main area of focus of the Institute is electrolysers, with which hydrogen can be produced from renewable resources as a sustainable fuel.

BALIS – Fuel-cell-based powertrain for aircraft

The aim of the BALIS project is to develop and test a fuel cell powertrain with an output of approximately 1.5 megawatts. This would be enough to allow the development of a regional aircraft with 40 to 60 seats and a range of 1000 kilometres. The exhibit shows the BALIS test infrastructure, including the fuel cell system, hydrogen tank, electric motors, battery system and cooling unit, as well as a control unit and control room.

DLR – Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics – Fuel cell-based powertrain for aircraft 1.5+ MW

NAUTILUS – climate-friendly energy supply for ships

Working with partners from industry and research, DLR is developing a climate-friendly energy supply system for ships. It is based on a highly efficient fuel cell system designed to generate heat and power on board. A notable benefit of the cells is that they work with many different fuels. To test the technology, the EU’s NAUTILUS (Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships) research project is producing a demonstrator suitable for ships. The exhibit shows the components of the system.

Fuel cells reduce ship emissions – DLR Portal


The H2MARE project explores the offshore production of hydrogen. For this purpose, electrolysers and so-called power-to-X demonstrators, whereby renewable electricity is converted into another energy product, are coupled with offshore wind farms. In this way, hydrogen, liquid methane, liquid hydrocarbons, methanol and ammonia can be produced directly on site.

Hydrogen flagship projects: H2Mare: offshore technologies


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics
Dr. Asif Ansar · Email seyed-asif.ansar@dlr.de

Infografik: Container e-XPlore für die Nutzung in H2Mare
Infografik : BALIS
Infografik: Nautilus