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Horizon Europe develops liquid hydrogen storage for net zero aviation

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Picture of Meenal Datar

Meenal Datar

Membership specialist
an aeroplane wing in the clouds

The OVERLEAF project will aim to decarbonise the skies by introducing a liquid hydrogen storage tank to fuel hydrogen-powered aircraft.

The project was launched in May and will run for three years. OVERLEAF comprises a 10-strong consortium from six European countries. It will be led by Aciturri Engineering and will include various leading companies and academics in the aeronautics sector. The development of the liquid hydrogen storage tank is aimed to make hydrogen-powered air travel significantly more viable.

Despite hydrogen-powered aircraft already existing, the costs of storing and using hydrogen as a fuel for long flights make it impracticable. The lack of hydrogen storage systems in aircraft is a significant obstacle, because of strict limitations in weight, volume and cost-efficiency.

However, if successful, the OVERLEAF hydrogen project will enhance the transition to hydrogen-powered aircraft. The liquid hydrogen storage concept will be based on the amalgamation of innovative functional and high-performance materials, thermal insulating materials, and hydrogen leak detection sensors.

The project will reduce the mass of the liquid hydrogen tank by 50%. Consequently, the weight and volume of the aircraft can be reduced, lowering the energy demand, and improving the cost of building and operating.

The project will additionally create a liquid hydrogen propulsion system, producing up to two or three times more system power destiny than traditional fuel cell systems.

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