The Anonymous Widower

A Thought On Broughton Station

This Google Map shows Hawarden Airport to the West of Chester.

Note.

  1. Airbus make wings for their aircraft at their Broughton factory on this airport.
  2. The wings are flown to Europe for final assembly.
  3. The North Wales Coast Line passes the Northern end of the runway.

When I bought my return ticket between Chester and Holyhead, which was good value at £25.25 with my Senior Railcard, I got chatting with the clerk about Airbus and their Broughton factory.

He felt it needed a station and afterwards I checked and found that the Welsh Government had been trying to build one for some time.

Thinking back, I wonder if he keeps getting asked about getting to the Airbus factory and wishes that the government and Airbus would make his job easier by building a  Broughton station.

A station at Broughton might also cut the factory’s carbon footprint, by allowing more staff to go to work by train.

A Merseyrail Extension To Shotton

Shotton is already served by the Borderlands Line which connects Wrexham and Bidston.

This line is shown on the West side of this map, which shows how the Merseyrail network might look in the future.

Note.

  1. Chester could have services that terminate in the East at Crewe and Runcorn East stations.
  2. Chester already has electric services from Liverpool, which will receive new Class 777 trains in the next few months.
  3. The new trains can be fitted with a battery electric capability.

I just wonder, if a Cross-Chester Metro could be built.

  • Eastern termini would be Runcorn East or possibly Warrington Bank Quay and Crewe.
  • Shotton is only 7.9 miles from Chester.
  • Shotton low-level station used to have four tracks.
  • I suspect that Shotton or even Flint could be the Western terminus.
  • Extra stations could be added as required.

Note.

It would probably be best, if the trains were battery-electric that could use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, as this would allow them to charge at the Eastern termini.

I also feel that Crewe and Chester should be electrified, so that Chester could be reached by the new Class 805 trains running under electric power.

This would also allow Chester to become a High Speed Two destination, that was served by High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.

I believe that a Cross-Chester Metro is a possibility.

October 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The ZEROe Demonstrator Has Arrived

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Airbus.

This is the introductory paragraph.

2022 marks a new and exciting phase for ZEROe – Airbus’ ambition to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. The multi-year demonstrator programme has officially been launched with the objective to test a variety of hydrogen technologies both on the ground and in the air.

The ZEROe demonstrator will be the first Airbus A 380 aircraft and it is shown in this Airbus visualisation.

Note.

  1. The four hydrogen tanks in the fuselage.
  2. The fifth engine mounted in a pod on the fuselage.
  3. There’s certainly lots of space inside the fuselage for more hydrogen tanks and test and monitoring equipment.

I have a few thoughts.

This Aircraft Will Be A Superb Demonstrator

The press release says this about the use of an A 380 as a demonstrator.

The A380 is the world’s largest and most spacious passenger jet ever built – a size that makes it ideally suited to the role of test platform.

Today, the A380 MSN1 test aircraft is earmarked for a new role: to take the lead on testing the technologies that will be vital to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.

“The A380 MSN1 is an excellent flight laboratory platform for new hydrogen technologies,” says Mathias Andriamisaina, Airbus ZEROe Demonstrator Leader. “It’s a safe and reliable platform that is highly versatile to test a wide range of zero-emission technologies. In addition, the platform can comfortably accommodate the large flight test instrumentation that will be needed to analyse the performance of the hydrogen in the hydrogen-propulsion system.”

Initially, I suspect the aircraft will fly as a four-engined turbofan aircraft running on standard or sustainable aviation fuel.

The performance of the hydrogen engine will be tested in all phases of operation and at different altitudes.

What Size Is The Fifth Engine?

This layout is clever.

If Airbus want to test a smaller hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 320-sized hydrogen aircraft like the ZEROe Turbofan shown in this Airbus visualisation, they fit it to the fifth pylon.

Note.

  1. The fifth pylon on the ZEROe Demonstrator could be the proposed pylon for the ZEROe Turbofan.
  2. The ZEROe Demonstrator could probably carry a lot of hydrogen to test out the hydrogen engine over a long duration.
  3. The hydrogen engine could be tested out over the full flight envelop of an Airbus A 380.

I would suspect that the tests on the hydrogen engine would be some of the most comprehensive ever carried out on a new engine.

If Airbus want to test a larger hydrogen engine for say an Airbus A 350-sized hydrogen aircraft, they would probably replace one of the four main engines with the hydrogen engine.

It looks like Airbus will be able to test hydrogen engines for all sizes of plane in their current range.

What Will Happen To Current A 380s?

Consider.

  • The production of the A 380 has been stopped.
  • There are 251 aircraft in service.
  • They appear to be a reliable and safe aircraft.
  • The aircraft can run on sustainable aviation fuel.
  • The oldest aircraft are only thirteen years old.
  • They are still reasonably modern aircraft, that if they needed to be updated to the latest standards could probably be easily done so.
  • The aircraft have a lot of volume, which can hold over 500 passengers in a typical configuration.
  • The flying characteristics and structure of the aircraft is well known.

I suspect there are a lot of aircraft leasing companies, who feel these aircraft are too good to scrap, just because they are not zero-carbon.

Could Hydrogen Be Stored In The Wing Of An A 380?

Hydrogen storage will get more capable in the next few years and we will see hydrogen stored in strange places in vehicles and aircraft using the gas as a fuel.

The A 380 may well have an advantage in that its wing is relatively thick compared to that of other airliners.

  • The A 380 has a wing aspect ratio of 7.53.
  • The Boeing 787 has a wing aspect ratio of 11.
  • Gliders have wing aspect ratios as upwards of 30.

High aspect ratios are generally more economical on fuel.

But this relatively thick wing, may make it possible to store hydrogen in the wing of an A 380.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380?

I suspect part of the Airbus ZEROe progam will be to investigate the possibility of converting existing A 380 aircraft into a capable hydrogen-powered aircraft.

In Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?, I looked at the possibility of turning an existing Airbus A 320 neo into a ZEROe Turbofan running on hydrogen.

This was my conclusion.

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

So what will a ZEROe A 380 look like if it follows the same design route as an A 320 neo to a ZEROe Turbofan?

  • There would be a large hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.
  • As I explained earlier, there may be a possibility for some hydrogen to be stored in the wing.
  • Both passenger decks would be shortened and perhaps be able to hold the 350-410 passengers of the Airbus A350-1000.
  • The cockpit, front part of the fuselage, wings, tailplane and landing gear would be unchanged.
  • The aircraft would fit existing jetways at any airport, that can handle an existing A 380.

 

I believe that converting an existing Airbus A380 to a hydrogen-powered aircraft is possible and the conversion falls within Barnes Wallis‘s rule of problem solving.

There is no greater thrill in life, that proving something is impossible and then showing how it can be done.

The quote comes from a BBC program, where he was interviewed by Chris Brasher, who was another for whom impossible was just a minor hurdle in the way of meeting objectives.

Could There Be A Hydrogen-Powered A 380 Freighter?

Consider.

  • I think it is likely, that companies like Amazon will come under pressure over their carbon footprint, as they transport increasing numbers of packages around the world.
  • In DHL Express Shapes Future For Sustainable Aviation With First Order Of All-Electric Cargo Planes From Eviation, I talk about how DHL Express have ordered twelve Eviation Alice aircraft to create a zero-carbon service. DHL must feel this would be good for their image. So would they like an intercontinental zero-carbon freighter?
  • Some people worry about the air-miles on their food!

There could be a worthwhile niche market for a high capacity intercontinental zero-carbon freighter.

Because it has such a large internal volume, an Airbus A 380 might make an ideal aircraft to convert.

Conclusion

Airbus will learn a lot from the ZEROe Demonstrator.

They may even learn how to develop, a long-range hydrogen-powered zero-carbon A 380 variant that could carry four hundred passengers between Europe and Australia.

 

 

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fortescue Future Industries And Airbus Join Forces To Help Decarbonise Aviation

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Fortescue Future Industries.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Global green hydrogen company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Airbus, a world leader in aeronautics, have joined forces to create a working alliance to help enable the aviation industry to decarbonise through zero-emissions green hydrogen.

Today’s announcement reflects FFI’s and Airbus’ shared ambition to leverage their respective expertise to support the entry-into-service of a green hydrogen-based aircraft by 2035. Green hydrogen, unlike other forms of hydrogen, is made from water using 100 per cent renewable electricity.

I think this is a smart move by Airbus.

It could be argued that hydrogen trucks, buses, cars, vans and other road vehicles have not taken off at a great rate due to the lack of hydrogen filling stations.

Hydrogen airliners travelling on typical routes will probably need refuelling at both ends of the route and possibly several times per day, so hydrogen refuelling would be an important part of any deal Airbus signs with an airline.

Fortescue Future Industries seem to be in prime position to be the first global hydrogen company, so they must be the ideal hydrogen fuelling partner.

I don’t think anybody predicted, when Airbus published the possible designs of their concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft in September 2020, that I wrote about in ZEROe – Towards The World’s First Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft, that an Australian company would be likely to provide the hydrogen fuel for these aircraft.

March 8, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Universal Hydrogen CEO Sees Jetmakers Backing New Fuel

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Reuters.

It is mainly predictions by Paul Eremenko, who is Chief Executive of Universal Hydrogen, about the future of the single-aisle jet airliner market.

I wrote in detail about their technology in Could Universal Hydrogen’s Concept Create A Hydrogen-Powered Single-Aisle Airliner?.

I firmly believe they have a concept that will work and look forward to flying in a hydrogen-powered aircraft using Universal Hydrogen’s technology before the end of the decade.

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Universal Hydrogen’s Concept Create A Hydrogen-Powered Single-Aisle Airliner?

Universal Hydrogen are making some of what I would consider the right moves.

Hydrogen Supply

Universal Hydrogen have signed a supply contract with Fortescue Future Industries for the supply of green hydrogen.

The deal is described in this press release on the FFI web site, which is entitled FFI And Universal Hydrogen Join Forces To Decarbonise Aviation.

Collaboration With Airbus

There is an article on BusinessWire, which is entitled Universal Hydrogen Announces New Engineering Development Center Located In Toulouse, France, The Heart of European Aviation.

Toulouse is the home of Airbus.

The Capsule Concept

The capsule concept could be universal.

These are widths of various planes and trains.

  • De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 – 2.52 metres – Internal
  • Airbus ATR 72 – 2.57 metres- Internal
  • Airbus A320neo – 3.7 metres – Internal
  • Boeing 737 – 3.53 metres – Internal
  • Class 800 train – 2.7 metres – External
  • Class 66 locomotive – 2.65 metres – External

I suspect that if the design is correct, then one size of capsule can be made to fit a variety of applications.

Application To Regional Aviation

I discussed this in Flybe Appears To Be On The Way Back.

I believe that De Havilland Canada Dash 8s and Airbus ATR 72s could be converted to hydrogen.

Road Transport

Surely, the capsules would be too big for road transport in the UK and many other countries.

But they would probably be ideal to deliver hydrogen to bus and truck depots and filling stations for hydrogen vehicles. They would just be plugged in and then could start dispensing the fuel.

Decarbonation Of Diesel Locomotives

Consider.

  • The cross-section of a diesel locomotive even in the UK, is larger than that of a regional airliner.
  • Most of the space in the body of a diesel locomotive is taken up by a large diesel engine.
  • Fuel ells or a small gas turbine could be small compared to the diesel engine.
  • Most existing diesel locomotives have electric transmissions.

I believe that many diesel-electric locomotives could be converted to hydrogen power and some could use Universal Hydrogen’s capsules.

Zero-Carbon Backup Generators

Many pieces of important infrastructure, like data centres, hospitals and large railway stations have backup generators.

Universal Hydrogen’s capsules could provide hydrogen for zero-carbon backup generators.

Universal Hydrogen’s Ideas For Single-Aisle Airliners

In the Product page on the Universal Hydrogen web site, there is a section, which is entitled Single Aisle / Narrowbody, where this is the first two sentences.

The majority of aviation emissions are produced by the single aisle (also known as narrowbody) fleet, dominated by the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of aircraft. Both Boeing and Airbus are likely to develop a replacement for these venerable models for entry into service in the mid 2030s.

Alongside the text is this graphic, which compares various airliners.

Universal Hydrogen are proposing that Airbus stretch the A321, so that hydrogen capsules can be fitted in the rear of the fuselage, so that the aircraft has similar proportions to the Boeing 757.

Read the full text on the Product page of the Universal Hydrogen web site.

I can see that if they could prove the concept with the Regional Airliner, they could develop the two concepts shown in the graphic.

Conclusion

This is a simple, but very exciting project.

 

 

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

First In-flight 100% Sustainable-Fuels Emissions Study Of Passenger Jet Shows Early Promise

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Initial findings from a world-first study of the impact of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial jet have provided promising early results.

The study was performed using an Airbus A350, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

This paragraph describes the tests.

In April, the A350 flew three flights over the Mediterranean Sea pursued by a DLR Falcon chaser plane to compare in-flight emissions of both kerosene and Neste’s hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable fuel. The team also carried out compliance tests using 100% SAF and no operational issues were experienced.

I was surprised, when I first read this, that they used a chase plane to measure emissions, as I thought they’d simulate that in a test cell on the ground.

But this is probably, the best way to test the engines, whilst running on sustainable aviation fuel, in real-world conditions.

Conclusion

I believe that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will be the interim solution to flying until hydrogen-powered aircraft are developed.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Ryanair Backs Away From Boeing Jet Order

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Ryanair has ended talks to purchase tens of billions of dollars of Boeing jets amid a stand-off over the price.

The Irish budget airline had been in talks to buy as many as 250 planes of the 737 Max 10 model but said yesterday that the talks had collapsed.

But have Michael O’Leary and Boeing fallen out over hydrogen?

Consider.

  • Many countries in Ryanair’s largest markets are aiming to go net carbon-free by 2050 or even earlier. Scotland is aiming for 2045.
  • An airliner delivered today will still be flying twenty or even thirty years later.
  • I believe that by 2030, small airliners up to thirty passengers will be zero-carbon.

In Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?, I came to this conclusion.

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

If Airbus can offer an airliner, that can be rebuilt as a hydrogen-powered plane that must change the economics of purchasing a fleet of airliners, which could be made worthless by worldwide carbon emission legislation.

Because the Boeing aircraft is a 1960s design with an aluminium airframe, I would doubt it is designed to be converted to hydrogen power.

September 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hydrogen Aircraft Market To Reach $174 Billion By 2040

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

That is a very large sum of money!

The article gives the current status and outlines the plans of the major players.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Wizz Air Plans Cheaper Fares As Capacity Grows

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

One of Europe’s leading budget airlines is forecasting a sharp drop in the price of fares as it expects to increase the number of flights this summer to as much as 80 per cent of normal capacity.

That sounds fair to me, as it’s just supply and demand.

I’ve only ever flown Wizz Air once and that was from Liverpool to Gdansk, where I had a memorable couple of days, before taking the train home to London.

I would certainly rate them better than Ryanair.

The article intrigued me.

It said that Wizz Air had made a large loss but had raised a sum to more than cover it on the bond market.

So I looked up their fleet on Wikipedia.

In 2026, Wizz Air will end up with forty-nine neo aircraft and how many of the 107 older ones, they want to keep.

Under Environmental Protection on the Wikipedia entry for Wizz Air, this is said.

One year later, in November 2020, among the European airlines, Wizz Air was able to show the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger / kilometre and underlined their commitment to further reducing their environmental footprint. As part of their strategy, all fuel-saving flight phases of take-off and landing are continuously monitored for maximum environmental optimization, which has a significant impact on further continuous reductions in CO2 emissions.

I would assume, that this means, they take carbon emissions seriously.

When I saw these fleet sizes and put them together with Wizz Air, I wondered if Airbus have offered the airline a route to decarbonisation by converting the neo aircraft to hydrogen. I believe this is possible and said so in Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?

These fleet sizes don’t rule it out and if there was a way to remanufacture later A 320s to hydrogen aircraft, it would be a good way to continue to sell aircraft.

April 29, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IAG To Operate 10 Per Cent Of Flights With Sustainable Aviation Fuel By 2030

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Business Traveller.

These are the first two paragraphs.

International Airlines Group has announced a commitment to operate 10 per cent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030.

The owner of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling says it will purchase one million tonnes of sustainable jet fuel per year, enabling it to cut its annual emissions by two million tonnes by 2030.

It is a welcome development.

My feeling is that although a lot of greens, think that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a cop-out, it is the only way we have to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in the short-term.

  • It would not need any expensive modifications to aircraft.
  • SAF can also be delivered to airports using existing infrastructure like pipelines or rail tankers.
  • SAF can be made from household and industrial waste, disposable nappies and other materials like scrap wood and unwanted clothes, most of which will otherwise end up in landfill.

I also think that SAF could be a way to decarbonise existing rail locomotives by replacing the diesel engines with gas turbines.

So will IAG commitment give a boost to the production of SAF? I certainly hope it does, as we’ll all benefit.

Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

This infographic from Airbus shows three of their proposed designs for hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Discover the three zero-emission concept aircraft known as ZEROe in this infographic. These turbofan, turboprop, and blended-wing-body configurations are all hydrogen hybrid aircraft.

Two of the designs; the ZEROe Turboprop and ZEROe Turbofan appear to have been designed by re-engineering current technology and designs.

The one I like is the Turbofan, which I feel is based on the airframe of the current A 320 neo.

  • Much of the wing, cockpit and fuselage appear very similar to that of the A 320 neo
  • There is a hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.
  • The engines are probably modern turbofans, adjusted to run on hydrogen.
  • Range and passenger capacity are very similar to the current aircraft.
  • The ZEROe Turbofan would fit current airport infrastructure like tugs and terminals.
  • Aircrew would need little retraining between current A 320s and ZEROe Turbofans.

There might even be the possibility of being able to convert an A 320 neo into a ZEROe Turbofan!

But there is a flaw in my reasoning.

IAG have placed a large order for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Wikipedia says this in the entry for IAG.

In June 2019, IAG signed a letter of intent to purchase 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft even though at the time of the signing the 737 MAX was still grounded worldwide following the two fatal crashes likely caused by the design of the MCAS system. Aviation analysts have questioned IAG’s leadership in making such an order when the 737 MAX design is still being rectified. IAG CEO Willie Walsh, shrugged off the plane’s uncertain future. “We’re partnering with the Boeing brand”, he said. “That’s the brand that I’m doing business with. That’s the brand that I’ve worked with for years. And it’s a brand that I trust”

Could Boeing have offered a 737 MAX, that can be converted to hydrogen?

I certainly feel that both a 737 MAX and an A 320 neo can be converted to hydrogen.

  • The visualisations from Airbus of the A 320 neo and the ZEROe Turbofan are remarkably similar.
  • The 737 MAX is a traditional aluminium aircraft, so may be easier to convert.
  • As Boeing probably need a winner more urgently than Airbus, perhaps they can deliver a hydrogen-powered aircraft around the middle of the decade.
  • Both aircraft are a bit like Lego and can be shortened or lengthened as required.
  • Perhaps one or other of the planemakers have come up with a technique for storing environmentally-friendly liquid ammonia in the wings.
  • See Could Current Airliners Be Fuelled With Ammonia?

As my mother used to say. “It’ll all come out in the wash!”

But I do feel by 2030, we’ll be seeing zero-carbon airlines on short-haul routes. So IAG’s aim of getting ten percent of planes powered by SAF by 2030, is probably a stop-gap that will continue with older planes for some years.

 

 

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment