For the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for regional, short-haul and long haul aircraft, from the production of the fuel to the critical technology components in the aircraft and the overall aircraft design to the carbon footprint on a fleet basis, the potential is being investigated within the H2Avia project.
Besides the use of renewable hydrogen (H2) for the production of synthetic paraffin, the direct application of H2 as a fuel for aviation is a long-term option. In order to assess the long-term potential for this sector, the joint project H2Avia is investigating both the possible overall transformation of this industry by H2 and the corresponding climate impact. As the primary energy source for regional, short-haul and long haul aircraft, H2 is currently one of the most attractive technology options for achieving the ambitious climate targets set by politicians and the aviation industry. In this context, the question of whether and how clear the advantage of transport aviation with H2 is for the climate impact is the subject of research. In order to ensure a holistic evaluation, the production of H2 and its transport to and distribution at the airport must already be considered. Furthermore, ground operations need to be examined to see how they will have to be adapted for the use of H2. For integration into the aircraft, H2 opens up numerous technology options.
In this context, the ILR is investigating the integration of hydrogen technology into commercial aircraft. In particular, the propulsion system, the energy supply, the tank and related systems, modifications to the fuselage and the wing are included. These technologies are first modelled in the preliminary design and implemented on the overall preliminary aircraft design platform UNICADO. These are further combined with specialized models of the project partners. An evaluation of the aircraft with hydrogen technology in comparison with conventional aircraft will follow, enabling an assessment of the potential of various technology options. In addition to the technology investigation on the aircraft itself, the ILR is investigating the basic requirements for an airport infrastructure that must provide liquid hydrogen for the aircraft. Finally, all results are incorporated into overall life cycle analyses and statements on the climate impact of hydrogen technology.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the Federal Aviation Research Programme LuFo VI-2.