And Common Hydrogen is becoming a member of the race this week. The corporate has a check flight deliberate for its Sprint 8-300, a regional plane with over 40 seats.
The key aim is to check out the propulsion system, which is able to use hydrogen gasoline cells that flip hydrogen and oxygen into water vapor, producing electrical energy to energy the airplane.
The plane will fly with hydrogen gasoline cells powering one aspect whereas a standard jet engine runs on the opposite. It’s an ordinary observe for testing out new methods in flight, says Common Hydrogen CEO and cofounder Paul Eremenko.
Even when the check flight is profitable, there’s an extended street forward earlier than cargo or passengers will climb aboard a hydrogen-powered airplane. That’s as a result of there’s a whole lot of infrastructure round airplanes, and a broad swap to hydrogen-powered flight could require rethinking a whole lot of it.
Take fueling, for instance. Business airports at the moment have a longtime community to gasoline up planes. Jet gasoline is carried in, often on vans or in pipelines to a central fueling system. Vans can then decide it up and convey it to a airplane because it sits at a gate.
That complete system may not work so effectively for hydrogen, Eremenko says. Pipelines carrying hydrogen are liable to leak, and holding hydrogen in a liquid kind requires cooling it all the way down to cryogenic temperatures, which regularly means there’s a whole lot of loss when shifting it from one container to a different.
The answer, as Eremenko sees it, seems to be so much like one in every of my prized possessions: a Nespresso espresso maker. Common Hydrogen plans to construct and use pods crammed with hydrogen gasoline that may be loaded and unloaded from its airplanes, stopping the necessity to switch hydrogen between totally different containers.
The check flight this week gained’t use these pods, because the focus is ensuring the airplane’s propulsion system works as supposed. The Sprint 8-300 that shall be flying shall be powered utilizing hydrogen tanks stuffed up earlier than flight, however future check flights will use the capsule system to check out how that works within the air, Eremenko says.