Since PRV Engineering provides specialist services to the aerospace sector, we like to share all the latest news and interesting updates from around the world. Few stories are as exciting as the new mid-sized liquid hydrogen plane that can fly anywhere in the world with only one stop for refuelling.
FlyZero Project: New Liquid Hydrogen Plane Concept
Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a UK government-backed research company, recently unveiled a liquid hydrogen plane concept, called FlyZero.
Since it was founded in 2013, the ATI has received funding of £1.95 billion ($2.6 billion) of which £15 million went to the FlyZero concept program. It certainly was money well spent as the preliminary design of the liquid hydrogen plane looks exceptional, not to mention the next-gen system that powers this “lean and green” flying machine.
This future-ready, mid-sized aircraft can carry 279 passengers from London to San Francisco non-stop or Auckland with only one stop. According to ATI, the FlyZero concept will have the same performance capabilities as a traditional aircraft but without producing any carbon emissions. The FlyZero project may very well be the frontrunner for achieving carbon-free flight using liquid hydrogen.
How Does The Hydrogen Plane Work?
Backed by the government, the FlyZero liquid hydrogen plane was developed by a team of aerospace and aviation experts from all over the UK. The FlyZero plane is one of many aircraft being designed by the FlyZero program and has resulted in several advanced technologies.
Through the development of concept aircraft, they’ve identified onboard technologies, infrastructure and ground equipment to further bolster the rapid development of delivering zero-carbon emission flight. These advanced technologies include wings without fuel tanks (dry wings), hydrogen tanks, cryogenic fuel systems, fuel cells and electrical power systems and hydrogen gas turbines.
This new liquid hydrogen plane concept will store hydrogen in cryogenic fuel tanks at a temperature of -250°C (-418°F). Two tanks will be at the rear of the plane while two smaller “cheek” tanks will remain at the front to keep the aircraft balanced.
Specifications And Range Of The FlyZero Concept Aircraft
The mid-sized liquid hydrogen plane concept has a 54-metre wingspan with two turbofan engines powered by hydrogen combustion. With a range of 5250NM, the plane can reach the following destinations from London without the need to refuel:
- San Francisco (4664NM)
- Delhi (3642NM)
- Beijing (4414NM)
- Vancouver (4105NM)
- Mexico City (4815NM)
- Rio De Janeiro (4983NM)
For those venturing a little further, destinations with a single stop include Auckland (9911NM), Sydney (9188NM) and Honolulu (6289NM) among others. FlyZero’s midsize liquid hydrogen plane would meet the demands of a unique sector between single-aisle and wide-body aircraft operations which, combined, account for 93% of carbon emissions in aviation.
The Future Of Zero-Emission Flight
Other possible solutions include electric aircraft but current battery technologies aren’t advanced enough to allow long-distance flight. For example, NASA’s experimental electric Maxwell X-57 light aircraft can only fly for 40 minutes with a range of 100 miles on a single charge.
Battery technology is advancing but even the best-case scenario can’t compare to the FlyZero concept. This new liquid hydrogen plane promises a greener future allowing travellers to fly with the same speed and comfort provided by airliners today.
The FlyZero concept demonstrates the tremendous potential of green liquid hydrogen for air travel. The technology is no longer just for regional or short-haul flights but also for global connectivity. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“This pioneering design for a liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft, led by a British organisation, brings us one step closer to a future where people can continue to travel and connect, but without the carbon footprint.”
Detailed findings from the FlyZero project will be released in early 2022. It will include three final aircraft concepts (regional, narrow-body and midsize), technology roadmaps, market and economic reports and a sustainability assessment.
This will help build the future of global aviation with the UK leading the way. The intent is to stand at the forefront of sustainable flight in design, manufacture, technology and skills for the future and it could all be made possible with a liquid hydrogen plane. Have a look at this informative article on electric vs hydrogen planes.
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