First liquid hydrogen-powered piloted plane

First liquid hydrogen-powered piloted plane

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Is liquified hydrogen our future? Long-range, emission-free air travel may be close with recent test flight campaign.

The German developer of aircraft powertrain systems H2FLY has completed the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen, which provides a glimpse into the future of aviation technology as we know it.

Professor Josef Kallo, co-founder of H2FLY, said in a statement- “Together with our partners, we have demonstrated the viability of liquid hydrogen to support medium and long-range emissions-free flight. We are now looking ahead to scaling up our technology for regional aircraft and other applications, beginning with the critical mission of decarbonizing commercial aviation.”

According to Interesting Engineering, the replacement of gaseous hydrogen with liquid hydrogen has doubled the maximum range of the HY4 aircraft from 750 km to 1,500 km. This shows great promise for a future with cleaner and more sustainable air travel, with hydrogen power being the current most viable sustainable plane fuel.

Furthermore, tanks filled with liquified, cryogenic hydrogen (LH2) are significantly lighter than pressurized tanks with gaseous hydrogen (GH2), enabling longer and further flights.

Following this historic success, H2FLY now focuses on the path to commercialization and recently announced the development of H2F-175 fuel cell systems capable of providing full power in flight altitudes of up to 8.2 km, bringing them one step closer to practical commercial aircraft applications.

Pierre Crespi, Innovation Director at Air Liquide Advanced Technologies has stated: “Today’s success demonstrates the full potential of liquid hydrogen for aviation. Liquid Hydrogen can be stored onboard and transported. Hydrogen is key to the energy transition and this new step proves that it’s already becoming a reality.”

The Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance (HIA), including aviation industry giants like easyJet, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce are calling for increased investment and research in hydrogen-powered flights, believing that hydrogen as an aviation fuel can bring significant economic benefits and accelerate the shift toward zero-carbon aviation.

This information was provided by Interesting Engineering.