The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology developed a process that can be used onboard aircraft while in flight to produce hydrogen from water (including wastewater on the plane) and aluminum particles, safely and cheaply. The hydrogen can then be converted into electrical energy for in-flight use. While the use of hydrogen fuels has been a potential greener energy solution for some time, storing hydrogen has always been a problem.

The engineers worked around the hydrogen storage problem by using non-polluting Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells and a new process of aluminum activation. The foundation for the technology is in the chemical reaction between aluminum powder and water to produce hydrogen. Either fresh water or wastewater, already onboard the aircraft, can be used for activation, which means the aircraft does not need to carry any additional water.