Hydrogen-powered Aircraft: How will Innovations Boost Business Sustainability and Growth?
Carbon-neutral hydrogen propulsion technology drives new product development in an evolving commercial aviation landscape
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), airlines, and airports have an opportunity to adopt a new generation of clean and sustainable technologies to reduce their contribution to climate impact. Hydrogen presents a path to transubstantiate aviation into a climate-neutral industry. Industry studies suggest that novel aircraft, aero-engines, and systems when coalesced with hydrogen, offer a marginal cost increase per passenger kilometer, with a significant reduction in climate impact, dependent on the technology adopted. Industry stakeholders must create strategies to assess the impact of hydrogen-based technologies on upstream emissions and the life cycle of liquid hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Compliance with expanding regulations in air transport and the industry’s current economic conditions bring urgency to the need for aircraft certification and support. Impartial data custodians are needed to standardize certification procedures for evolutionary and revolutionary technologies. Regulatory bodies must adapt and create solutions by developing robust and seamless testing and approval processes for newly delivered sustainable aircraft.
The commercializing and pricing of hydrogen-driven electric alternatives in cryogenic compressors, fuel cell technology, liquid hydrogen tanks, fuel distribution, volumetric heat exchangers, airframe structures, and systems present a challenge for manufacturers, operators, and service providers, prompting a sizable investment in creating these products and services. While COVID-19 has affected air travel demand and supply chains globally, airlines and airport operators are even more intent on finding cost-efficient strategies to improve their business sustainability.
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