The Anonymous Widower

ZeroAvia Hydrogen Powered Jets For American Airlines?

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

The article states that American Airlines will be investing an undisclosed amount into ZeroAvia and that it might use their regional hydrogen-powered aircraft in the United States.

August 7, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

easyJet And Rolls-Royce Pioneer Hydrogen Energy Combustion Technology In H2ZERO Partnership

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

These three opening paragraphs outline the project.

easyJet and Rolls-Royce today announced a ground-breaking new partnership, H2ZERO, that will pioneer the development of hydrogen combustion engine technology capable of powering a range of aircraft, including those in the narrow-body market segment.

Both companies have committed to working together on a series of engine tests on the ground, starting later this year and have a shared ambition to take the technology into the air. The objective of the partnership is to demonstrate that hydrogen has the potential to power a range of aircraft from the mid-2030s onwards.

While Rolls-Royce will bring its expertise in engine development and combustion systems, easyJet will contribute its operational knowledge and experience to H2ZERO and will also directly invest in the test programme.

This to my mind is good news.

This paragraph gives details of some of the planned work.

Through H2ZERO, the companies will support an early concept ground test of a Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine in the UK later this year. This will be followed by a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine – a range of location options are being assessed for this including the Rolls-Royce test facility in Mississippi, USA. The programme will build on initial hydrogen combustion and fuel system rig tests that Rolls-Royce is undertaking with both Cranfield and Loughborough universities.

Note.

  1. The Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engine, powers the Lockheed Super Hercules amongst others.
  2. Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 powers various business jets.

easyJet and Rolls-Royce certainly have ambitions, and as there is little about the route they are taking to decarbonise, I would assume, that the main purpose of the study, is to find the optimal route.

I have just found this paper on the German Aerospace Centre web site, which is entitled Assessment Of Hydrogen Fuel Tank Integration At
Aircraft Level.

It uses as a baseline aircraft, the Airbus A320neo, of which easyJet have a few!

I suspect that using some of the techniques outlined in this paper, Rolls-Royce could decarbonise an Airbus A320neo.

July 21, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aerospace Electrified By New Technology

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

The article is a good summary of the state of zero-carbon aviation.

July 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

News Of The Day From Rolls-Royce

This press release from Rolls-Royce is entitled Rolls-Royce Advances Hybrid-Electric Flight With New Technology To Lead The Way In Advanced Air Mobility.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolls-Royce is officially announcing the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This paragraph outlines the use of the new small engine.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles. By developing turbogenerator technology, that will be scaled to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, we can open up new longer routes that our electric battery powered aircraft can also support.

There is also a video in the press release, which gives more information.

  • The turbogenerator is compatible to their electric power and propulsion offering.
  • The turbogenerator has a power of 500-1200 kW to serve different aircraft platforms.
  • The system is modular and can be tailored to different applications.
  • The turbogenerator can either power the aircraft directly or charge the batteries.
  • The system can be configured to provide primary power for other applications.
  • Rolls-Royce are designing all the components; the turbogenerator, the gas turbine, the generator, the power electronics, so they all fit together in a compact and lightweight solution.
  • Rolls-Royce intend to manufacture all components themselves and not rely on bought-in modules.
  • Every gram of weight saved is important.

I suspect that one of the keys to making this all work is a very comprehensive and clever control system.

I have a few thoughts.

Weight Is Key

Rolls-Royce emphasise weight saving in the video. Obviously, this is important with any form of flying machine.

An Example System

Let’s suppose you want an electric power system to power a railway locomotive or one of those large mining trucks.

  • The locomotive or truck has an electric transmission.
  • Power of 2 MW is needed.
  • A battery is needed.
  • Fuel will be Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) or hydrogen.

A series hybrid-electric power unit will be created from available modules, which could be very fuel efficient.

What Will Rolls-Royce’s System Be Able to Power?

Although the system is aimed at the next generation of electric flying machines, these systems will be used in any application that wants an efficient zero- or low-carbon power source.

Consider.

  • Some large trucks have diesel engines with a power of almost 500 kW.
  • A Class 68 bi-mode locomotive has a 700 kW diesel engine.
  • A Class 802 train has three 700 kW diesel engines.
  • Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU are a large supplier of diesel engines for rail, road and water.

It looks to me that Rolls-Royce have sized the system to hoover up applications and they have MTU’s experience to engineer the applications.

Class 43 Power Cars

The iconic Class 43 power cars running on UK railways are an interesting possibility for powering with Rolls-Royce’s new system.

  • Despite being over forty-years old, there are over a hundred and twenty still in service.
  • They were upgraded with new 1.7 MW MTU diesel engines in the early part of this century.
  • Rolls-Royce is based in Derby.
  • The Class 43 power cars were developed in Derby.
  • Hydrogen-powered Class 43 power cars, hauling GWR Castles or ScotRail Inter7Cities would be tourist attractions.
  • The Class 43 power cars need to be either decarbonised or replaced in the next few years.

Decarbonisation using Rolls-Royce’s new system would probably be more affordable.

This all sounds like a project designed in a pub in Derby, with large amounts of real ale involved.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.

Will The System Be Upgradable From Sustainable Aviation Fuel To Hydrogen?

This is an except from the introductory paragraph.

The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This would appear that if used in aviation, it will be possible to upgrade the system from sustainable aviation fuel to hydrogen, when a suitable hydrogen supply becomes available.

But all applications could be upgraded.

A truck, like the one shown in the picture could be delivered as one running on sustainable aviation fuel and converted to hydrogen later.

Conclusion

Rolls-Royce have put together a modular system, that will have lots of applications.

 

 

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monte To Purchase 100 FC Aircraft Drives From ZeroAvia

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

This is the first paragraph.

ZeroAvia and Monte Aircraft Leasing will jointly market hydrogen-powered aircraft to regional operators. Under an agreement now signed between the companies, Monte will purchase up to 100 ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrains from ZeroAvia to be installed on existing and new 5- to 20-seat aircraft.

Monte look to be an interesting company from their web site, which has this title.

Supporting The Transition Of The Regional Aviation Industry To Net Zero Carbon Emissions

The business model appears to be a well-proven and it is not that far removed from the one, colleagues and myself used to sell the project management system; Artemis.

In our case we took proven Hewlett-Packard computers and and other hardware, added our Artemis software and a custom-made desk and leased the systems to those who wanted to do project management, with as much support as our clients required. Customers just had to supply operators, printer paper and a thirteen amp socket.

Finance was obtained by various innovative methods, often through a bank manager, who was a bit of a rogue. But he was a rogue, who was on the side of the angels.

Later he became a firm friend of mine, before he sadly died within a few days of my wife.

Monte Aircraft Leasing’s model would appear to take a proven aircraft like a Cessna Caravan, Dornier 228 or Dash 8, replace the turboprop engines with a zero-carbon powerplant and then lease the aircraft. Often this will just be an additional lease to the existing operator.

The great advantage of this approach, is that the reengined aircraft does not need to be fully re-certified. It can fly under a Supplemental Type Certificate, which is described like this in Wikipedia.

A supplemental type certificate (STC) is a civil aviation authority-approved major modification or repair to an existing type certified aircraft, engine or propeller. As it adds to the existing type certificate, it is deemed “supplemental”. In the United States issuance of such certificates is under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Monte seem to have found a good way to make money from going net-zero.

June 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HyPoint And GTL Ultra-Light Liquid Hydrogen Tanks Could Be A Jet Fuel Game Changer

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

This is a sentence from the article.

HyPoint and GTL have been developing a groundbreaking liquid hydrogen cryotank design that could turn the entire aircraft industry on its head.

It is claimed that these ultra-light tanks could give a four times increase in range for jet-fuelled aircraft.

The article also claims that HyPoint has developed a new ctype of fuel-cell that could make conventional jet fuel obsolete.

Occasionally, ideas come along, that are literally too good to be true! Usually, they are!

But this one could be the one in a hundred, that isn’t!

Visit the HyPoint web site and see what you think!

I also think, that the technology may have other applications, in addition to aviation.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 3 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

Rolls-Royce And Hydrogen

This page on the Rolls-Royce web site given their view on hydrogen.

This is the first paragraph.

We see an important role for hydrogen in helping to lower emissions; fuelling buses and lorries as well as for energy storage and home heating. Interest in its use in aviation is growing too, especially to power smaller aircraft using fuel cells. Hydrogen has the potential to power larger aircraft as a direct gas turbine engine fuel, and is being investigated with significant technical and operational challenges needing to be overcome.

Good to see the company confirm later in the page, that hydrogen can be used as fuel in a gas-turbine.

February 15, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | 2 Comments

ZeroAvia Raises $35 Million From United And Alaska Air Group to Provide Hydrogen-Electric Engines For Large Aircraft

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

This is the first paragraph.

United Airlines announced an investment this week in ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engines. ZeroAvia has secured $35 million in this latest round of investments from both United and Alaska Air Group. The total amount of investments in ZeroAvia is now $115 million and includes previous investors AP Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Summa Equity, and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.

ZeroAvia certainly seem to be bringing in the investment.

After, yesterday’s trip in a dual-fuel train, lower- and zero-carbon fuels seem to be on the way.

December 17, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment