The Anonymous Widower

What Size Of Hydrogen Tank Will Be Needed On A ZEROe Turbofan?

I believe that Airbus’s proposed ZEROe Turbofan is designed for the same market segment as a A 320 neo.

  • This aircraft has a fuel capacity of 26,730 litres of kerosene.
  • This will have a mass of 21.38 tonnes.
  • Each kilogram of kerosene can produce 46 Mega Joules of energy
  • This means that full fuel tanks contain 983, 480 Mega Joules of energy.
  • Each litre of liquid hydrogen can produce 10.273 Mega Joules of energy

This means that to carry the same amount of energy will need a 95,734.5 litres or 95.7 cubic metres of liquid hydrogen.

  • This could be contained in a cylindrical tank with a diameter of 4 metres and a length of 7.6 metres.
  • It would also weigh 6.93 tonnes.

As the range of the A 320 neo is given as 6,300 kilometres and that of the ZEROe Turbofan, as just 3,700 kilometres. the tank could probably be shorter.

Note that I used this Energy And Fuel Data Sheet from Birmingham University.


Carrying as much energy as an A 320 neo will be difficult.

  • Range will be reduced.
  • A new more efficient airframe will be necessary.
  • As volume is probably more of a problem than weight, the fuselage might be lengthened by a few metres.

Designing the hydrogen system will be challenging, but I would be surprised if it were an insurmountable problem.

September 25, 2020 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , ,


  1. Discussion of this was on this youtube channel here today from a pilots perspective.

    Comment by Tim Regester | September 25, 2020 | Reply

  2. Sorry I meant this video.

    Comment by Tim Regester | September 25, 2020 | Reply

  3. You might get away with less fuel if you are reducing the take-off weight by fifteen tons.

    Comment by Matthew | September 27, 2020 | Reply

    • Remember, that most of the fuel is used for take-off and getting to the cruise altitude, so less weight of fuel would reduce the fuel needed to get to cruise altitude.

      I’ve flown long distances in a big piston twin, like Southend to Naples, where to be safe and sure, I filed a flight plan with Bastia as an alternative to pick up fuel if necessary. The French ATC, when they realised I was going to Naples and it was a clear day, allowed me to fly at FL 195 (19,500 ft) all the way to the South Coast of France. Although, I didn’t have a full instrument rating, what I was doing was perfectly legal in France at the time and I’d done it several times. The French then handed me over to the Italian ATC, which assumed I was fully instrument rated so let me fly, at the same height, all the way to where I descended into Naples. I arrived with enough fuel to go perhaps a couple of hundred miles further.

      Airliners generally fly this sort of profile of get to cruise altitude and then fly straight and level until you get to the destination, as it gives the longest range.

      As the weight of fuel for the same energy is less for the ZEROe Hydrogen, this will reduce the energy needed to get to cruise altitude, which could allow the plane to fly further on the same amount of energy, thus allowing fuel to be reduced further. There’s a virtuous circular calculation at work here.

      Comment by AnonW | September 27, 2020 | Reply

  4. […] What Size Of Hydrogen Tank Will Be Needed On A ZEROe Turbofan?, I calculated how much liquid hydrogen would be needed for this ZEROe […]

    Pingback by Shooter Urges Caution On Hydrogen Hubris « The Anonymous Widower | January 4, 2021 | Reply

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