in Aerospace

Study shows liquid hydrogen ideal for sustainable air travel

Posted 23 February 2017 · Add Comment

With sustainable solutions in mind, a new study published by eminent physicist Professor Jo Hermans in MRS Energy and Sustainability-A Review Journal (MRS E&S) looks at the energy efficiency of current modes of transport and concludes that liquid hydrogen seems to be a realistic option for what is probably the most problematic of transportation modes in terms of sustainability, future air travel.



Transport makes up around 20% of our energy use around the world -- and that figure is set to grow, according to the International Energy Agency.

Professor Hermans from Leiden University's famous Huygen's Laboratory acknowledges that oil-based liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene will be hard to beat when it comes to how much energy they pack in relation to their volume and weight - not to mention the sheer convenience of using them to get from A to B.

The author of popular books such as Physics is Fun (2012) and Energy Survival Guide (2011) acknowledges that achieving sustainable transport in the post-fossil fuel era will be a huge challenge--but finds that liquid hydrogen could offer a potential solution for future air travel.

"Given the severe weight limitations for fuel in aircraft, liquid hydrogen may be a viable alternative in the long run," he argues:
•    First, handling of liquid hydrogen would be carried out by professionals, which reduces the safety issues involved with liquid hydrogen to the same level of risk involved in handling kerosene.
•    Second, liquid hydrogen itself is very light (in fact, it is in a gaseous state at ordinary temperatures), which is an important advantage for air travel.
•    Third, the disadvantages of "boil off" (created by the low boiling point of liquid hydrogen) would be reduced in air travel because of the low outside temperature at cruising altitudes.

Hermans discounts the use of solar power for air travel without revolutionary changes in the airplane concept but concludes that it seems wise to extend the availability of oil products as long as possible. However, he argues that the low cost of kerosene is a huge disincentive in this respect:

"It is a defect that kerosene is so irrationally cheap, which triggers much unnecessary air travel," he writes. "A worldwide tax on kerosene - if at all politically possible - should be something to pursue."

MRS E&S, a journal of the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press, encourages contributions that provide viewpoints and perspectives on the all-important issue of how humankind can work towards -- and build -- a sustainable future.


The challenge of energy-efficient transportation, by Professor Jo Hermans, is available (free of charge)
here

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

AEB and CILT(UK) organise complimentary compliance conference

To help British trader to become Brexit-proof before 2019, global trade and supply chain experts in manufacturing and trade businesses are being invited to attend a free conference in Warwick on 11th October 2017, organised by AEB

DIT DSO organising UK capabiity showcase at DSEI

The Department for International Trade's Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO) Showcase will present current expeditionary and security capabilities with participation from 36 companies at this year's DSEI event,

HMS Queen Elizabeth makes Portsmouth debut

Britain's future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into her home port of Portsmouth for the first time today.

DIO awards overseas consultancy framework contract

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) - on behalf of the Ministry of Defence along with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - have worked together to develop an overseas principal support provider (PSP) framework.

Bombardier delivers its first Challenger 350 in Argentina

Bombardier Business Aircraft announced today it delivered the first Challenger 350 aircraft to be based in Argentina, joining Bombardier's fleet of 122 Challenger aircraft in Latin America.

PervasID appoints Peter Jackson as Vice President of Global Sales

PervasID has appointed Peter Jackson as Vice President of Global Sales, to spearhead sales expansion and partner channels worldwide for their recently launched (patented) wide-area passive RFID detection Space Ranger 9200

MacTag SK0308140917
See us at
SMI MilSat BT2907101117Aviation Africa BT18418SMI12DE BT203280917SMIUAV BT1005280917Advanced Engineering BT1007021117DSEI LB0911150917SMI AirMissBT0305251017SMI FAV BT1007161117