According to the British Aerospace Technology Institute, the aircraft they have designed could fly more than 8,600 km on a single charge. One of the most difficult tasks in the greening of transport is to create aircraft that do not emit any harmful substances during their journey. Engineers have been working on electric planes for many years, but their effectiveness depends largely on our ability to develop better and lighter batteries than those currently available.
The other possibility is to refuel the aircraft in the same way as at present, but with hydrogen instead of kerosene. This seems like a good alternative, and a British research team has now come up with a plan that, if successful, could revolutionise aviation.
The Aerospace Technology Institute, with funding from the UK government, has created the FlyZero project, a hydrogen-powered aircraft capable of flying long distances. They say they have designed a plane that can carry 279 passengers and can fly from London to San Francisco (covering 8,616 km) or to Auckland, New Zealand, with virtually a single refuelling stop. The latter city is 18 337 km from London.
With a wingspan of 54 metres, the designers say the aircraft would offer the same comfort and speed as today’s aircraft, but with zero carbon emissions.
The concept is that hydrogen would be stored at -250 degrees Celsius in the rear of the aircraft, while two smaller tanks at the front would keep the aircraft in balance.
It is not yet known when the aircraft, which currently exists only on the drawing board, will become a reality. The organisation expects that such planes could be in service by the 2030s, which could save significant amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.