The recent milestone is the work of an engineering team at Boeing Research & Technology Europe (BR&TE) in Madrid, with assistance from industry partners in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, including UQM Technologies, Inc., which is the only U.S.-based partner.
A two-seat Dimona motor-glider with a 16.3-meter (53.5-foot) wingspan was used as the airframe. Built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria, it was modified by BR&TE to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power a UQM(R) electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.
Three test flights took place in February and March at the airfield in Ocana, south of Madrid, operated by the Spanish company SENASA. During the flights, the pilot of the experimental airplane climbed to an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level using a combination of battery power and power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Then, after reaching the cruise altitude and disconnecting the batteries, the pilot flew straight and level at a cruising speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) for approximately 20 minutes on power solely generated by the fuel cells.
"Boeing is actively working to develop new technologies for environmentally progressive aerospace products. Technology from partners like UQM Technologies' are an important part of this aviation first, and the small, lightweight and efficient UQM(R) electric motor and controller performed flawlessly during the manned flight test," said Francisco Escarti, BR&TE's managing director. "We are proud of our pioneering work during the past five years on the Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane project. It is a tangible example of how we are exploring future leaps in environmental performance, as well as a credit to the talents and innovative spirit of our team."
"We are extremely pleased that our electric motor and motor controller were chosen by Boeing to perform the critical function of turning the propeller on this historic aviation first," said William G. Rankin, UQM Technologies, Inc.'s President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our systems deliver the torque, power and energy efficiency that advanced applications such as this require, in a lightweight and compact package."
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts hydrogen directly into electricity and heat with none of the products of combustion such as carbon dioxide. Other than heat, water is its only exhaust.
According to Boeing researchers, PEM fuel cell technology potentially could power small manned and unmanned air vehicles. Over the longer term, solid oxide fuel cells could be applied to secondary power-generating systems, such as auxiliary power units for large commercial airplanes. Boeing does not envision that fuel cells will ever provide primary power for large passenger airplanes, but the company will continue to investigate their potential, as well as other sustainable alternative fuel and energy sources that improve environmental performance.
BR&TE, part of the Boeing Phantom Works advanced R&D unit, has worked closely with Boeing Commercial Airplanes and a network of partners since 2003 to design, assemble and fly the experimental craft.
UQM Technologies, Inc. is a developer and manufacturer of power dense, high efficiency electric motors, generators and power electronic controllers for the automotive, aerospace, medical, military and industrial markets. A major emphasis of the Company is developing products for the alternative energy technologies sector including propulsion systems for electric, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, under-the-hood power accessories and other vehicle auxiliaries and distributed power generation applications. The Company's headquarters, engineering and product development center, and motor manufacturing operation are located in Frederick, Colorado. For more information on the Company, please visit its worldwide website at www.uqm.com.
This Release contains statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act. These statements appear in a number of places in this Release and include statements regarding our plans, beliefs or current expectations, including those plans, beliefs and expectations of our officers and directors with respect to, among other things the development of markets for our products and the adequacy of our cash balances and liquidity to meet future operating needs. Important Risk Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements are contained in our Form 10-Q filed January 30, 2008, which is available through our website at www.uqm.com or at www.sec.gov.
UQM Technologies, Inc.
Donald A. French, 303-278-2002
BPC Financial Marketing
John Baldiserra, 800-368-1217