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A Review of Liquid Hydrogen Aircraft and Propulsion Technologies


Sustainable aviation is a key part of achieving Net Zero by 2050, and is arguably one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise. Hydrogen has gained unprecedented attention as a future fuel for aviation, for use within fuel cell or hydrogen gas turbine propulsion systems. This paper presents a survey of the literature and industrial projects on hydrogen aircraft and associated enabling technologies. The current and predicted technology capabilities are analysed to identify important trends and to assess the feasibility of hydrogen propulsion. Several key enabling technologies are discussed in detail and gaps in knowledge are identified. It is evident that hydrogen propelled aircraft are technologically viable by 2050. However, convergence of a number of critical factors is required, namely: the extent of industrial collaboration, the understanding of environmental science and contrails, green hydrogen production and its availability at the point of use, and the safety and certification of the aircraft and supporting infrastructure.

Funding source: The authors would like to thank the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for providing the funding this project. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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