In the quest for a carbon-free future, hydrogen-powered transportation is a commonly proposed solution. It works by utilizing fuel cells that combine hydrogen and oxygen atoms to produce electricity, heat, and water, but does not release carbon or other harmful emissions. While this technology shows a lot of potential for automobiles, air travel poses many challenges to going carbon-free. Could the solution be as straightforward as a new design?
All The Speed And Comfort Of Modern Flight Without Carbon
The Aerospace Technology Institute’s FlyZone project has developed a midsize aircraft design concept that could make liquid hydrogen-powered air travel possible. The zero-carbon emissions plane would seat 279 passengers on a non-stop flight from London to San Fransisco. The experience of flying aboard the two turbofan-engine craft would reportedly offer a comparable level of speed and comfort as today’s conventional fuel-powered air travel.
The hydrogen used to power the plane would be stored in cryogenic fuel tanks located in the rear fuselage and two “cheek” tanks kept in the forward fuselage. These two smaller tanks would help maintain balance as hydrogen is consumed. More details on FlyZero’s concept craft, as well as market reports, sustainability assessments, and other information are expected to be released in early 2022.
Only A Concept Until Fuel Infrastructure Catches Up
Whether in the air or on the ground, the main obstacle to making hydrogen-power transportation a reality is the cost of developing and maintaining a refueling infrastructure. But as technology improves and the economic advantages of fossil fuels continue to decrease, hydrogen fuel may be a leading option for carbon-free car and air travel. As other sectors, such as power generation and industry, shift toward hydrogen as a fuel source, it’s very likely that transportation will follow.
What are your thoughts on using hydrogen to achieve zero-emissions air travel? Considering its current environmental impact, do you think the aerospace industry is ready to move to a carbon-free future? Comment with your thoughts.