Azara Blog: Hydrogen-powered aircraft

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Date published: 2005/07/03

The BBC says:

A US company says it has successfully completed test flights of a potentially environment-friendly aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen.

Liquid hydrogen stored on board and oxygen extracted from the air are combined in fuel cells. The electricity generated drives the propellers.

California-based AeroVironment says a full tank of hydrogen would keep the unmanned plane in the air for 24 hours.

Planes using fuel cells might help curb greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

The aircraft, called Global Observer, looks more like a glider than a conventionally-powered plane, with its wingspan of over 15m, small fuselage slung underneath and extended, "dragon-fly" tail.

Along the front edge of the wing is a line of eight propellers.

Hopefully only the start for what sounds like a promising new technology, but do not expect Ryanair to be using these planes in the near future. (And what will the so-called environmentalists find to complain about next with air transport if this technology takes off?)

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