January 17, 2022

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Liquid hydrogen-powered 'squirrel cheek' aircraft concept promises long-haul flights

Liquid hydrogen-powered ‘squirrel cheek’ aircraft concept promises long-haul flights

Imagine a future in which intercontinental air travel is less harmful to the environment than it is today. You will be traveling in an innovative aircraft capable of traveling long distances without increasing your carbon footprint. For the FlyZero team, the key is to develop environmentally friendly powertrains that use liquid hydrogen as a zero-emissions fuel.

The group of researchers led by the UK Institute for Space Technology hasn’t just run out of ideas on paper. With the aim of furthering their project, they developed a concept for a futuristic medium-sized aircraft. According to his calculations, the aircraft will be able to reach the speeds of current passenger aircraft, and in some cases, exceed the number of passengers on these aircraft.

Green plane with “squirrel cheeks”

One of today’s biggest challenges is to reduce the environmental impact of long-distance air transportation. Under this premise, more than 100 aviation experts from Project FlyZero examined the advantages and disadvantages of various propulsion alternatives and discarded the less promising alternatives until they were left with the last choice.

The batteries quickly fell out of the race because of huge weight. bad news for him spirit of innovation and “its most dense battery in the world?” ammonia – Yes, ammonia – was also out of the game for its harmful emissions, powertrain weight and required fuel. One promising alternative is hydrogen In the case of an invader, it was removed from the list for occupation Plenty of space and less independence.

The biggest winner was liquid hydrogen. This type of fuel, according to FlyZero, is ideal for large combustion engines in passenger planes. Likewise, this type of system will allow long-distance travel and reduce the need for mid-flight refueling.

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Using this data, the team visualized a medium-sized jet powered by liquid hydrogen. Its design has a very unique feature: “squirrel cheeks”. This protrusion from the aft fuselage will be necessary refrigerated domestic fuel tanks.

This would seat 279 passengers and could go up to 9.723 km Trip without the need to refuel. These features will allow FlyZero to perform transcontinental flights with only one stop. For example, as I indicated NewatlasThe Boeing Dreamliner can cover 13,950 kilometers with about 242 passengers.

FlyZero believes that this type of aircraft “will have a higher operating economy than conventional aircraft since the mid-1930s.” However, there are still challenges to be resolved such as developing technologies for these aircraft, storage, distribution, hydrogen price, and of course safety.

picture | Institute of Aviation Technology