The German Aerospace center, DLR, has been leading a project for 3 years. An electric nose wheel using fuel-cell: after takeoff and landing phases, the aircraft can use this propulsion system without using a drop of fuel. Emissions at the airport are reduced by 27% and noise by 100%.
Two electric motors are placed in the rims, the fuel cell delivers power and can move an aircraft weighing up to 70 tons.
On a day with seven takeoffs and landings, this technology can save between 200 and 400 liters of kerosene per day while reducing the use of engines and therefore their maintenance, approximately 1200 hours less per year on an average of 34 minutes on the ground in takeoff and landing phases.
The Airbus DLR A320 ATRA developed with project partners (Airbus and Lufthansa Technik) is now ready for initial tests of taxiing which should be held in April in Hamburg.