A trolley acts as a power plant for the galley in Diehl’s MAGIC® (Modular Autonomous Galley with Integrated Power Cell) concept, aa sub-project of Diehl’s DACAPO® concept. Image via Diehl Aerospace

APEX Media: The “Crystal Cabin Award Winners: Where Are They Now?” series provides updates on past CCA-winning concepts. The 2018 Crystal Cabin Award application deadline is November 3.

As passengers continue to adopt the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach to in-flight entertainment, Diehl Aerosystems’ DACAPO® (Distributed Autonomous Cabin Power) concept promises to provide nearly unlimited energy in the aircraft cabin. DACAPO®, which was developed in cooperation with research institutes Fraunhofer ICT-IMM and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), won the top prize in the Crystal Cabin Award’s Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category in 2014. MAGIC® (Modular Autonomous Galley with Integrated Power Cell), where a trolley acts as a power plant for the galley using a propylene glycol water mixture as fuel,  is a sub-project of DACAPO®. In March 2016, the first proof of concept for the electrical power generation from propylene glycol was successfully conducted in a lab.

This award is a great honor and it proves that we are on the right track with our innovations. – Benno Petersen, Head of Innovation and R&T, Diehl Aerospace

The submission phase for the 2018 Crystal Cabin Award, which recognizes the most significant innovations in aircraft interiors, onboard technology, passenger comfort, efficiency, safety and design, is currently active. Candidates may enter by filling out an application form by November 3. The awards now include seven categories, including a new Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity category. Crystal Cabin Award winners will be announced at a ceremony held during Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place from April 10 to 12 in Hamburg.

Which innovations and technologies will be seen in the cabin of tomorrow? Which companies are considered a major driving force? CCA reveals the answers to these questions. – Arend Wedekind, SVP Sales & Marketing, Diehl Aerosystems

Guido van Geenen, head of Communications Aircraft Systems at Diehl Aerosystems, gives APEX Media an update on DACAPO®.

Can you provide a description of  the winning concept?

The demand for energy in a modern passenger aircraft is continuously increasing. Furthermore, steadily increasing fuel consumption results in a greater environmental impact. MAGIC®, a sub-project of the DACAPO® concept, is remedying these impacts.

What makes this concept unique?

In simple terms, a trolley is filled with a new “inner life” and acts as a “power plant” for the galley. The used fuel is a green producible and completely safe propylene glycol water mixture, previously used as a cooling agent in aircraft and therefore easily available at airports. We currently operate the world’s only fuel processor to extract this hydrogen.

How does the concept improve the airline passenger experience?

The introduction of new cabin comfort functions or the use of personal devices (BYOD philosophy) demands more electrical energy. Thanks to DACAPO® the cabin can be better designed for these energy demands or rather airplanes can be updated as MAGIC® is a retrofittable concept. The passenger will profit from nearly unlimited energy.

How has the concept developed since winning a Crystal Cabin Award?

Two years after the first presentation of the DACAPO® concept to the public, an important milestone was reached. In March 2016, the world’s first proof of concept for the electrical power generation from propylene glycol was successfully shown within the framework of a laboratory demonstrator. In the meantime, components and the whole system have been improved and optimized. We are also working on aspects for good system integration into the galley and into the aircraft. Furthermore, a new research project was started in 2016 to continue this work and to build a second miniature energy trolley prototype.

How has the Crystal Cabin Award contributed to the development of this concept?

The DACAPO® concept was presented to the public for the first time in 2014 and was awarded the prestigious Crystal Cabin Award in the same year. This award promoted the name recognition and the demand for technical information. This gave us fast and comprehensive valuable feedback from airframers as well as from airliners about the strengths and weaknesses of this new concept.  Some premium airlines were amazed about this new approach to get more power on board, as well as business jet operators with demands for more energy.

Have you since, or would you still like to enter any other projects for a CCA?

Diehl Aerosystems is a regular participant at the CCA. In 2017, we were the lucky winner in the Cabin Systems category. Our airworthy realization of Power Line Communications (PLC) in an aircraft cabin (in collaboration with the Swiss University of Lucerne) impressed the judges. This concept may reduce cable weights significantly.