New Hydrogen Planes Will Leave Only Water in Their Wake

Airbus has unveiled a groundbreaking project to develop three new planes that will run on hydrogen and emit zero emissions

    2020/09/29

NSFW    LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS — Airbus has unveiled a groundbreaking project to develop three new planes that will run on hydrogen and leave only water vapor in their wake. One of these zero-emission planes will also feature a revolutionary blended-wing design, while the other two would be conventionally shaped airplanes with game-changing hydrogen engines.

Currently, jet engines — like less powerful turboprop engines — use a highly flammable fossil fuel called kerosene. Kerosene is made from oil and is injected directly into jet engines, where it explodes, heating and expanding air that has been compressed by the engine.

This explosive process creates enormous thrust, which pushes huge airplanes forward at very high speeds. Unfortunately, kerosene is a fossil fuel, so it produces a lot of greenhouse gases like CO2 when it burns, creating quite a lot of air pollution.

For these revolutionary new planes, Airbus plans to develop a gas-turbine engine that can burn hydrogen in the same way. They also plan to use embedded electrical motors that are powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The great thing about this is that hydrogen turns into water when it burns with oxygen, so these planes would emit zero pollution into earth's atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this dream is facing a lot of obstacles that Airbus will have to overcome before 2035, which is the ambitious deadline they set for the project's completion.

Apart from the technical challenges of getting engines to work with only hydrogen, there is also the huge problem of safely storing and transporting hydrogen. Hydrogen is a gas and has to be cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius to turn it into a liquid.

That means it has to be cooled to minus 253 degrees before it is pumped into the plane and it has to be kept at this incredibly low temperature in the plane, and all the way into the engine.

So, it is clear that hydrogen-powered flight would require quite a leap in technology — not just in airplane and airport design, but also in the ability of industries to produce enough hydrogen at a reasonable price.

Because of this, Airbus said they'll need the help of governments and industry leaders and with the current state of global warming and pandemics, the world may soon have no choice but to support this ambitious idea.
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New Hydrogen Planes Will Leave Only Water in Their Wake

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