December 4, 2023

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The first flight of an electric plane with liquid hydrogen

The first flight of an electric plane with liquid hydrogen

The commercial aviation of the future will not simply be sufficient to be reliable, efficient and profitable. It must add to its long list of strengths an equally important one: sustainability, reduction Contaminated fingerprint Which has already opened in some countries the debate about whether they should be preserved Flights low cost or short radius. In its efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the sector has experimented with ways to “sequester” carbon, improving aerodynamics, New fuels Or use hydrogen, where H2Fly has just taken a major step: the first test flight of an electric plane powered by liquid hydrogen.

The result is interesting. And his readings are more than that.

what’s new? The German company H2Fly claims to have successfully completed an internationally groundbreaking test: “the first pilot test of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen”, In your own words. To be more precise, the H2Fly team was able to complete four flights with its HY4 aircraft, equipped with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system and liquid hydrogen fuel cells. He took off during his test flight from Slovenia and one of his flights lasted more than three hours.

why does it matter? Beyond the symbolic value of the operation, H2Fly’s achievement is interesting for the industry for several reasons. First, because it gives a boost to hydrogen flight. Second, because it leaves out a valuable lesson: the advantages of liquid hydrogen over gaseous hydrogen. H2Fly claims that by using the former it has doubled the maximum autonomy of its ship compared to the latter, which for the purposes of the process means moving from 750 to 1,500 kilometers, a range that it hopes will represent a “decisive step” for the operation of commercial flights. .

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“This achievement marks a milestone in the use of hydrogen to power aircraft. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated the feasibility of liquid hydrogen for emissions-free medium and long-haul flights.” Joseph Callow saysco-founder of the company: “We are now considering expanding our technology to regional aircraft and other applications, and beginning the mission of decarbonizing aviation.”

Why liquid hydrogen? Because of its advantages when operating aircraft. It also highlights H2Fly, compared to compressed hydrogen gas (GH2), liquefied hydrogen (LH2) makes it possible to significantly reduce the weight and volume of tanks, which has a double benefit for aircraft: it allows them to increase their autonomy and loading capacity.

“Today’s success demonstrates its full potential in aviation. Liquid hydrogen can be stored on board and transported –His name is Pierre Crespi“Hydrogen is the key to the energy transition and this new step shows that it is already becoming a reality.”

Who are they behind? This is another key to why HY4 operation is so important. Behind it is not only H2Fly. The company itself realizes that its campaign represents the “culmination” of the HEAVEN project, a consortium supported by European authorities that aims to prove the feasibility of cryogenic liquid hydrogen in aircraft. On board are other entities, such as itself Air Liquide, Vertical Pepstril Solutionshe German Aerospace Centre (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies Wave Aisha Foundation. The work has also received funding from the German government and the University of Ulm.

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What does the plane look like? Test flights with liquid hydrogen have been completed HY4It is a four-seat aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and can be used for regional transportation services such as electric air taxis. according to Paper 2015 The aircraft from the DLR Institute of Thermodynamic Engineering has a length of 7.4 metres, a wingspan of 21.36 metres, and an empty weight of around 630 kg excluding the fuel cell, battery and storage system. It has a speed of 145 km/h and reaches 200.

Is it an isolated experience? No. Recently H2Fly announced In fact, there is a new generation high-altitude fuel cell system that hopes to be combined and scaled to power hydrogen-powered electric aircraft with a capacity of 20 to 80 seats. “The H2FLY systems will be able to deliver a full range of power at flight altitudes up to 8,200 metres, representing an important step on the way from low-altitude flight demonstrations to real-world commercial aircraft applications,” pointing to.

And H2Fly isn’t the only company wanting to boost commercial aviation with hydrogen. Other notable names are Destinus or ZeroAviawho had for months been puffing her chest out for an equally important accomplishment: piloting the world’s largest hydrogen aircraft, the 19-seat Dornier 228. Signature focused In “Hydrogen-Electric Propulsion and Refueling Solutions” it aims to achieve a range of up to 482 kilometers in aircraft with 9 to 19 seats by the end of 2025, and up to 1,126 kilometers in aircraft with between 40 and 80 seats by 2027.

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the pictures: H2Fly1, 2

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