Sustainable Aviation, Made in Hamburg

With the GATE funding programme, Hamburg supports aviation projects that deliver key technologies to make flying more sustainable. With the majority of the projects managed and run by small and medium-sized enterprises and research institutions, GATE pushes forward green aviation research in different areas, from hydrogen leakage and propulsion trains to cabin acoustics and recyclable aircraft seats.

The GATE funding programme totals €4.0 million and was co-designed and supported by Hamburg Aviation as part of the “Technology Roadmap” initiative. GATE is made possible by the City of Hamburg through IFB Hamburg, the city’s investment and development bank.

FairCraft: The sustainable aircraft cabin of tomorrow

  • CompriseTec GmbH, BFGF, Autoflug and Diehl Aviation

The design study FairCraft explores a new, environmentally conscious approach to cabin design. Here, the entire concept is designed from the ground up with sustainability in mind. The materials used here are not only recyclable but also lighter. In aviation, less weight also means less fuel consumption. Thus, the FairCraft concept holds considerable potential for saving aircraft emissions.

At the same time, FairCraft is designed in such a way that, despite the potential to save weight, passenger comfort is actually increased. The design offers a more pleasant indoor climate than traditional designs via a central ventilation system and more ergonomic lighting concept. At the same time, the textiles used provide a more organic feeling in the cabin than previous seating solutions based on aluminium components. FairCraft emerged from a cross-cluster initiative of Hamburg Aviation and the Hamburger Kreativ Gesellschaft, the cluster network representing Hamburg’s creative industry.

Hydroleak: Detecting hydrogen leaks

  • GmbH, TU Hamburg

As innovation in mobility progresses, hydrogen will play a significant role as a vehicle fuel in the future. This requires adapted safety concepts, because H₂ is highly volatile and explosive. The Hydroleak project researches a new method to detect hydrogen leaks in tanks or pipes quickly. Built into a portable device, this portable optical detection system will allow ground personnel to search for leaks manually faster and more effectively. The system uses the Background-Oriented-Schlieren (BOS) method for rapid detection and three-dimensional localisation of H₂ leaks as well as an impact assessment.

Hydroleak involves a live camera image evaluated in real-time and enriched with visual information on the display. The underlying analysis technology is AI-supported and uses information from the digital twin of the hydrogen system. The bidirectional coupling of the local data with the digital twin allows users to specify and document the leakage in the context of a system model. This enables Hydroleak to make an important contribution to safety when working with hydrogen.

CATECO: Noise Control throughout the cabin

  • Airbus, DLR, HAW Hamburg

In the future, a proportion of regional aircraft will use liquid hydrogen fuel, either by combustion in an engine or electrically by means of a fuel cell. While hydrogen engines can drastically reduce CO2 emissions, many designs generate propulsion by means of open rotors, or propellers. These in turn cause more noise than today's closed turbines.

The project consortium Airbus, HAW Hamburg and the German Aerospace Centre has come together to develop CATECO, a new system to simulate and evaluate a wide variety of cabin and propulsion configurations based on their acoustic properties. The goal is to keep the future noise level in the cabin of future propeller-driven aircraft at the current low level of noise experienced from jet engines. Airlines will offer their customers the opportunity to travel in new, more sustainable propeller-driven aircraft, but will not want to subject them to increased noise levels during the flight.

To this end, CATECO incorporates a new system for noise reduction in the cabin. Active Noise Control technology is known to many travellers as a method of “soundproofing” headphones. Here, acoustic signals from the environment are actively cancelled out by artificially generated sound waves.

CATECO is investigating approaches to apply this idea to the entire cabin. After all, travelling should become greener for the passenger, but not louder.

MIWa: MBSE-based Integration & Variation of Hydrogen Cryogenic Pressure Tank Systems

  • Centerline GmbH, DLR, HAW Hamburg

Liquid hydrogen offers great potential as a possible fuel to reduce CO2 emissions. But which approaches and architectures are best suited to use of LH2 as a fuel? The path towards finding concrete answers is made more difficult by the complexity of hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft as a system.

The aim of MIWa is to make headway in choosing promising configurations for an optimal overall aircraft design. MIWa uses a digital MBSE system model both for the integration of hydrogen cryogenic tank systems and designing and benchmarking the variants. The link with parameterised 3D geometry and simulation models additionally enables an analysis and evaluation of the design variants in spatial representation.

MIWa: MBSE-based Integration & Variation of Hydrogen Cryogenic Pressure Tank Systems

H2-Finity: A scalable fuel cell drive system

  • Teccon Consulting & Engineering GmbH, ZAL GmbH, mb + Partner, Thelsys GmbH

In the H2-Finity project, the consortium is researching and developing a hybrid-electric propulsion system running on hydrogen as fuel. The propulsion system has high flight performance, zero emissions and low noise pollution. Initially, it will be developed and tested for 25 kg drones and later for small aircraft in the 120 kg class.

New technologies require fundamentally new solutions; technology building blocks must be combined in a way that uses synergies. The entire development process at H2-Finity is defined in accordance with aviation standards and certified as a future design system. Depending on the aircraft, a design can be defined that doesn’t require recertification.


  • Treo - Laboratory for Environmental Simulation GmbH, CompriseTec GmbH

Green hydrogen as a sustainable fuel for aviation is a promising approach that brings many new challenges. Because safety is paramount in aviation, developing precise test procedures has a very high priority. The CCH2 project is investigating approaches for test scenarios and environments so that new materials and components can be adequately tested.

The chemical properties of H₂ play a major role here. One example is the so-called permeability of hydrogen. As a gas, it is extremely volatile and can even penetrate materials that are impermeable to water or paraffin. This poses great challenges for aircraft engineers, as they have to work with new materials and processes that not yet been sufficiently investigated.

Here, CCH2 will make an important contribution by creating the conditions for new test strategies.