The aviation industry is under pressure to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions, and this will require either reducing the number of flights or finding a cleaner fuel. The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), together with the UK government, have responded with the FlyZero concept, a passenger plane powered by liquid hydrogen.
The announcement was made just a day before fourth meeting of the Jet Zero Council on Monday. The developers affirm that its flight range will be 9.7 thousand kilometers. Preliminary information shows that the aircraft will have a capacity of up to 279 passengers, which will fly from London to San Francisco at the same speed as existing airliners. Its wingspan is estimated to be 54 meters.
The United Kingdom, which hosted the most recent annual climate change conference, the COP26, confirmed its investments in new technologies related to the space and aviation industry. The £1.95 billion earmarked for this purpose is intended not only to create new jobs in these sectors, but also to ensure the implementation of climate targets set by the local government.
Part of this money (£15 million) has been specifically allocated to the FlyZero liquid hydrogen plane concept, which is being developed jointly by the ATI.
FlyZero will fly on liquid hydrogen, which is stored in cryogenic fuel tanks at a temperature of about -250 °C. Fuel tanks will be located in the tail and on each side of the fuselage. The aircraft will have a wingspan of 54 meters, which places it between the wide-body Boeing 767 and 787. Two turbofan engines will be installed under the wing.
Today, several companies are engaged in the creation of hydrogen airliners. For example, British Electric Aviation Group (EAG) is developing a 90-seat hydrogen plane, British-American ZeroAvia – a 76-seat plane and German H2Fly and Deutsche Aircraft – a 40-seat one. These aircraft are considered environmentally neutral. They are powered by electric motors powered by a fuel cell, generating energy from the combination of hydrogen and oxygen, and only water is produced as an “exhaust”.