A revolutionary cryogenic tank design promises to dramatically increase the range of hydrogen planes, to the point that clean fuel cell planes could fly up to four times farther than comparable planes running on today’s dirty fuel today.
Weight is the enemy of all things aerospace; in fact, hydrogen’s higher energy storage by weight is what makes it such an attractive alternative to lithium batteries in the aviation world.
We have already discussed HyPoint’s air-cooled turbo fuel cell technology, but its main difference in the aviation market is its enormous power density compared to traditional fuel cells. For its great power, it is extremely light.
Now it looks like HyPoint has found a like-minded partner, Tennessee-based Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories (GTL) has been working on the development ultra-light cryogenic tanks made of graphite fiber compositesamong other materials.
GTL claims to have built and tested several cryogenic tanks demonstrating a whopping 75% mass reduction compared to “state-of-the-art aerospace cryotanks (metal or composite)“.
The company claims that they have been leak tested, including through multiple cryothermal pressure cycles, and that these tanks have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6+, where TRL 6 represents technology that has been verified at the beta prototype level in an operational environment. environment.
This kind of weight reduction makes a huge difference when dealing with a fuel like liquid hydrogen, which weighs so little on its own. Each kilogram of hydrogen requires about 9 kg of tank to transport it.
Liquid hydrogen could allow hydrogen planes to outrun kerosene planes within range. Even with a mass fraction of 30%, which is relatively achievable in liquid hydrogen storage, the utility of a hydrogen system would exceed that of a jet fuel system per kilogram.
GTL claims that the 2.4m long and 1.2m diameter cryotank in the photo weighs just 12kg. If you add a skirt and a “vacuum dewar shells“, the total weight is 67 kg. And it can hold more than 150 kg of hydrogen. That’s almost a 70% mass fraction, which leaves a lot of weight to lose for cryo-refrigeration equipment, pumps and the like, even maintaining a total system mass fraction above 50%.
With a mass fraction greater than 50%, HyPoint claims that will allow clean planes to fly four times farther than a comparable plane running on kerosenewhile reducing operating costs by 50% in dollars per passenger-mile and completely eliminating carbon emissions.
It will not be easy: there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of the production, transport and logistics of green hydrogen, not to mention the development of these tanks and fuel cells for aircraft to the point of being suitable theft. , are certified and sufficiently tested to be taken for granted. But with those kind of numbers and the huge emissions profile of the aviation sector, these tanks should have a chance to prove themselves.
Going through Newswire