Boeing Corporation is getting ready to develop and test an electrically powered airplane to see if fuel cell technology can make jets more ecofriendly. The goal would be to replace jet engines on commercial planes but to use fuel cells and electric motors for auxiliary power instead of gas turbines. Auxiliary power units -- essentially small jet engines -- are typically in the rear of an aircraft, where they drive generators and compressors to produce electricity and pump air for the plane while it is on the ground and for backup use in flight (Associated Press, December 1, 2001).
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