Thanks to a fuel cell-powered electric nose wheel, aircraft will be able to save fuel while significantly reducing airport noise. A quiet and emission-free tarmac will be possible. After three years of development at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the system is now ready for its first rolling tests with the DLR A320 ATRA (Advanced Testing and Research Aircraft).
"The fuel cell-powered electric nose wheel reduces the emissions produced by aircraft at airports by up to 27%, and noise levels during taxiing by up to 100%," explains Josef Kallo, the project manager for the emission-free, fuel cell-powered nose wheel at the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics (Institut für Technische Thermodynamik). Aircraft fitted with this nose wheel will be able to approach their apron locations travelling in both forward and reverse directions, as well as taxi to their take-off positions without needing towing vehicles or using their main engines.