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Hydrogen-Powered Aviation—Design of a Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft for Entry into Service in 2040


Over the past few years, the rapid growth of air traffic and the associated increase in emissions have created a need for sustainable aviation. Motivated by these challenges, this paper explores how a 50-passenger regional aircraft can be hybridized to fly with the lowest possible emissions in 2040. In particular, the use of liquid hydrogen in this aircraft is an innovative power source that promises to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions to zero. Combined with a fuel-cell system, the energy obtained from the liquid hydrogen can be used efficiently. To realize a feasible concept in the near future considering the aspects of performance and security, the system must be hybridized. In terms of maximized aircraft sustainability, this paper analyses the flight phases and ground phases, resulting in an aircraft design with a significant reduction in operating costs. Promising technologies, such as a wingtip propeller and electric green taxiing, are discussed in this paper, and their potential impacts on the future of aviation are highlighted. In essence, the hybridization of regional aircraft is promising and feasible by 2040; however, more research is needed in the areas of fuel-cell technology, thermal management and hydrogen production and storage.

Funding source: This research project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 875551. The student team also thanks Stuttgart Airport for the financial support for both the trip to present at the EASN Conference in Barcelona as well as for the trip to Amsterdam to meet with Embraer.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

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