IHI has successfully developed the world’s most advanced electric turbo compressor, boasting unparalleled performance. Incorporating their groundbreaking air levitation gas bearing electric motor, this compressor achieves an astonishing 100 kilowatts of output, surpassing conventional models by an impressive factor of 3.5. Not only that, but IHI has also achieved remarkable advancements in weight reduction and compactness. The application of this groundbreaking technology is set to revolutionize the utilization of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems in small aircraft. Even in the rarefied upper atmosphere, this compressor excels at delivering copious amounts of compressed air, paving the way for the realization of flight through fuel cell propulsion systems.
IHI Corporation, a prominent Japanese manufacturing company at the forefront of heavy industry, is headquartered in Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo. With a history spanning over 160 years, IHI stands tall as one of Japan’s three major heavy industries, alongside Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI).
The electric turbocompressor serves a vital role in supplying compressed air to fuel cells for the purpose of hydrogen reaction. Despite its compact size, this compressor not only ensures a generous supply of compressed air but also harnesses the power derived from the steam discharged by the fuel cells, resulting in remarkable output.
This versatile compressor finds application not only in flight but also as an onboard power supply system, contributing significantly to the ongoing efforts in decarbonization.
Moreover, this groundbreaking technology has wider applications beyond fuel cell systems, exhibiting potential in compressing the thin ambient air during flight for the purpose of cabin air conditioning, as well as recovering energy from compressed cabin air.
Looking ahead, IHI envisions developing an electric propulsion system and an in-flight power generation system that transitions to hydrogen, thus spearheading the electrification of aircraft and aiming for practical implementation by the 2030s.