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December 6, 2021

UK unveils zero carbon hydrogen-driven aircraft concept

The new hydrogen-powered aircraft will be able to carry 279 passengers.

Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), along with a team of aerospace and aviation experts, has introduced a concept for a midsize aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen in the UK.

This hydrogen-powered jet concept has been unveiled under the FlyZero project, which is being spearheaded by ATI and sponsored by the UK Government.

The new aircraft will be able to accommodate 279 passengers and fly halfway around the globe with a single stop to refuel.

As a result, a zero-carbon, non-stop flight will be able to run between London and San Francisco, or Auckland, New Zealand, with just one stop.

This concept is expected to promote green liquid hydrogen for air travel for both regional and international connectivity.

The onboard technologies for the development of concept aircraft FlyZero has been identified.

For the project’s advancement, infrastructure and ground equipment for refuelling will also be developed.

Some of these technologies are wings without fuel tanks (dry wings), cryogenic fuel systems, hydrogen tanks, fuel cells and electrical power systems, as well as hydrogen gas turbines.

The comprehensive findings covering the three final aircraft concepts (regional, narrowbody and midsize), technology roadmaps, market and economic reports and a sustainability assessment from the FlyZero project will be issued next year.

Driven by liquid hydrogen, the fuel will be stockpiled in cryogenic fuel tanks at around minus 250 degrees Celsius in two smaller ‘cheek’ tanks and the aft fuselage.

Furthermore, the aeroplane’s 54m wingspan will feature two turbofan engines that will operate through hydrogen combustion.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As we build back greener, it’s crucial that we place sustainability at the heart of the aviation industry’s recovery from Covid-19.

“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.”

In July, four aviation projects, supported by British Airways for promoting decarbonisation, were shortlisted for the UK Government funding.

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