Liquid hydrogen fuels new electric aircraft

Very recently, they successfully tested the HY4 in Germany. It is the first aircraft in the world that is electric and fueled by liquid hydrogen. The modern electric aircraft made its first piloted test flights with great success.

Liquid hydrogen
H2FLY, electric airplane that runs on liquid hydrogen – Image by Xataka
Tests of the HY4 electric aircraft

Aviation, after the two World Wars, made significant advances. Today, it is the fastest and most efficient means of transportation in existence. However, the large amount of fossil fuels consumed by aircraft makes this means of transportation very polluting. For this reason, alternatives are being sought to make aviation more sustainable.

The German HY4 aircraft completed four flights. The aircraft is powered by a hydrogen-electric and liquid hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. On its first flight it took off in Slovenia and its trip lasted three hours.

Advantages of the electric aircraft

What is important about this development is the contribution it can make to commercial and cargo aviation.

  • It gives sustenance to the idea of replacing the use of fossil fuels.
  • Demonstrates that liquid hydrogen outperforms gaseous hydrogen.

This aircraft using this fuel can double the flight range. That is, it goes from 750 kilometers of autonomy with gaseous hydrogen to 1500 kilometers with liquid hydrogen.

According to its manufacturers, this invention free of polluting emissions is a milestone for world aviation. They are already thinking of using the same electric propellant to propel regional aircraft and demonstrate how aircraft can be decarbonized.

Liquid hydrogen as aviation fuel
Image created with AI
Liquid hydrogen is friendly to the planet.

This fuel has considerable advantages over pressurized gaseous fuel. LH2 or liquefied hydrogen allows a considerable reduction in the weight and volume of the tanks that contain it.

As a result, the aircraft can have greater cargo capacity and increase its range. It can be stored in supplementary tanks on board the aircraft. In this way, it would increase its flight autonomy without the need for stopovers.

Behind this successful project backing liquid hydrogen as a fuel for the future of aviation, there are many other companies. The manufacturer itself acknowledges that this aircraft is the culmination of the HEAVEN project. It is a consortium of companies that is backed by European authorities to generalize the future use of this type of fuel.

The aircraft consists of four seats and can be used as regional cargo transport or as an air cab. It is 7.4 meters long and has a wingspan of 21.36 meters. Its empty weight is 630 kilograms, including fuel cell and battery. Its maximum speed is 200 km per hour, although the cruising speed is 145 km per hour.

Click to rate this entry!
(Votes: 0 Average: 0)

Leave a Comment