The H2 Clipper electric airship is powered and maintained by green hydrogen – Technology – Hybrids and electrics

H2 mower ensures that the great electric plane supported and powered by green hydrogen they are ready to transport massive loads over huge distances much faster than freighters. A technology that makes it possible to manage all air traffic from simple logistics installations, occupying a minimum of land, and all with zero emissions. The startup is thus trying to unblock intercontinental freight operations to make them completely green, transporting 8 to 10 times more payload than any cargo plane above At 10,000 kilometers and for a quarter of the price.

H2 Clipper’s electric airship is capable of carrying loads of 150,000 kilograms between towns as far apart as Los Angeles and Barcelona fly at speeds of 280 km/h. Although this is about a third of what is achieved with a normal passenger aircraft, it is between seven and ten times faster than a freighter.

Hydrogen-powered h2 Clipper electric airship supported interior1
The H2 Clipper electric airship is capable of carrying 150,000 kilogram loads between cities 10,000 kilometers apart like Los Angeles and Barcelona, ​​flying at speeds of 280 km/h.

These numbers are particularly compelling given the cost of the aircraft. H2 Clipper claims it will cost a quarter of the current cost of air freight services per ton-milemaking it an economically disruptive way to move bulk goods, as well as an opportunity to decarbonize transcontinental logistics operations.

Technology and the elephant in the room

The hydrogen It is the true protagonist of the H2 Clipper airship technology. It is its support gas since it provides, in volume, 8% more than helium at a price 67 times lower. On the other hand, his the propulsion would be entirely electricpowered by liquid hydrogen which powers a Fuel cell. H2 Clipper says it would work effectively over distances up to from under 500 miles (804 km) to over 6,000 miles (9,656 km). In other words, it would connect any two points in the world with a single supply. In the current renderings, the company shows the top of this huge plane covered in photovoltaic cells, which could theoretically allow it to generate its own hydrogen, if it carried a water source and an electrolyzer.

In the theoretical description, there is of course a big elephant in the room: hydrogen. The company plans build a prototype in 2025 and have a hydrogen airship full size flight in 2028. But the project remains a risky move for investors, as the FAA currently maintains a ban on hydrogen as a fuel gas.

h2 Clipper sustained hydrogen-powered electric airship2
The H2Clipper would cruise about 10,000 feet high, elevated, and powered by green hydrogen.

Like any other flammable substance, it is currently banned as a lift gas in the United States and Europe due to disasters such as the one the Hindenburg suffered in 1937, killing 35 of the 97 people who traveled there. However, as its use as an aviation fuel becomes more and more popular, it is time to consider whether it could not also be used as an ecological and economical lifting and supporting gas, opening up the possibilities of a clean transport with minimal risk to human life. As a result, they emerge all over the world green hydrogen projects is worth billions of dollars, so hydrogen itself has a lobby behind it that is pushing it like never before.

The development of the electric airship and its application

In 2021, H2 Clipper was accepted into the Dassault Systems 3D Experience Lab accelerator program, giving this small company the opportunity to use state-of-the-art development and simulation tools to refine its design. The company performed simulated wind tunnel tests using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), validating its drag and low-friction aerodynamics. It was also used to estimate the company’s operating costs and fuel consumption.

electric airship h2 Clipper powered by sustained hydrogen3
H2 Clipper has completed initial CFD testing to validate its low-drag design and fuel consumption estimates.

In this context, an interesting application case for hydrogen aircraft is precisely displace green hydrogen itself. H2 Clipper says these planes will outperform railroads, trucks, ships and even pipelines in the price of hydrogen exports over 1,000 miles (1,600 km). These “pipelines in the sky”, as H2 Clipper has dubbed them, “will be as green as the bulk hydrogen they transfer, adding an additional benefit that green hydrogen exporters might be willing to take a risk for.” .

The ban on hydrogen as a carrier gas

The case for banning hydrogen as a fuel gas in the United States and Europe is set out in this article by Eli Dourado, a senior fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. Here is his transcript:

  • Hydrogen was originally banned as a lifting gas in US military aircraft in 1922, following a rather theatrical demonstration of a balloon exploding before Congress by a representative of the Bureau of Mines, who found significant helium reserves. In his 1969 book on the beginnings of the helium industry, Mines employee Clifford Stebel admits that the hydrogen should not have exploded in this scenario, implying that he doctored it: ” Later, with a wink, Moore accused me of adding some air to the red ball to create an explosive mix, something I never admitted.”
  • The aviation industry as a whole was in an embryonic phase at the start of the 20th century, and most modes of flight had low levels of safety, which were later addressed with rigorous standards and new technologies. Hydrogen planes should have the same chance.
  • It is absurd to prohibit the use of flammable substances to generate aerostatic lift, but to allow their use to generate thrust. Leaks of flammable fuels have caused many aviation disasters without these substances being banned en masse.
  • The current FAA ban on hydrogen lifting gas is only a guideline, and nearly all aircraft that go through certification do so after negotiating a series of exemptions and special conditions.

The ace extensive automotive industry testing have shown that hydrogen tanks can withstand shots from 50 caliber rifles and that hydrogen escaping into the air can be attacked by flames without causing explosions.

H2 Clipper electric airship powered by sustained hydrogen4
H2 Clipper says the plane will cost a quarter of the current cost of air cargo services per ton-mile. The company plans to build a prototype in 2025 and fly a full-size hydrogen airship by 2028.

“By modern engineering standards,” writes Dourado, “there is no doubt that hydrogen could be made into a safe lifting gas.” He points out that the only way to know for sure would be to develop and certify a hydrogen airship, which would require a million dollar and risky investment due to the possible risk of the program being shut down by regulations.

H2 Clipper’s hydrogen airships could be what this technology needs to move forward. They pose minimal risk to human life. While they will initially be piloted, they will eventually could be completely autonomous. They present a useful middle ground in the transportation logistics puzzle: they are cheaper than aircraft, faster than ships, with virtually unlimited range and excellent operational flexibility. Currently, there is no other alternative to cover large distances without generating carbon dioxide emissions.

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