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Assessing the Sustainability of Liquid Hydrogen for Future Hypersonic Aerospace Flight


This study explored the applications of liquid hydrogen (LH2 ) in aerospace projects, followed by an investigation into the efficiency of ramjets, scramjets, and turbojets for hypersonic flight and the impact of grey, blue, and green hydrogen as an alternative to JP-7 and JP-8 (kerosene fuel). The advantage of LH2 as a propellant in the space sector has emerged from the relatively high energy density of hydrogen per unit volume, enabling it to store more energy compared to conventional fuels. Hydrogen also has the potential to decarbonise space flight as combustion of LH2 fuel produces zero carbon emissions. However, hydrogen is commonly found in hydrocarbons and water and thus it needs to be extracted from these molecular compounds before use. Only by considering the entire lifecycle of LH2 including the production phase can its sustainability be understood. The results of this study compared the predicted Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) emissions of the production of LH2 using grey, blue, and green hydrogen for 2030 with conventional fuel (JP-7 and JP-8) and revealed that the total carbon emissions over the lifecycle of LH2 were greater than kerosene-derived fuels.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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