New hydrogen technology could quadruple range of aircraft

California-based firm HyPoint is developing an innovative cryogenic fuel tank design that could significantly boost the range of hydrogen-powered aircraft.

HyPoint claims its technology is extremely lightweight compared with traditional fuel cells and it could allow airliners to fly up to four times farther than traditional passenger aircraft.

A 50-56 passenger De Havilland Canada Dash-8 Q300, for example, can fly approximately 1,558 km (968 miles) on jet fuel, according to HyPoint.

If it were retrofitted with a fuel cell powertrain and a GTL composite tank, it would be able to fly as far as 4,488 km (2,789 miles), the company claims.

“That’s the difference between this plane going from New York to Chicago with high carbon emissions versus New York to San Francisco with zero carbon emissions,” said HyPoint co-founder Sergei Shubenkov.

“Similar to the carbon-fibre that is used in racing bikes, our carbon-composite technology adds strength and durability while significantly reducing weight. With BHL Cryotanks, larger aircraft such as jumbo jets will be able to utilise hydrogen fuel for cross-country flights at least a decade earlier than expected,” added Paul Gloyer, CEO at aerospace engineering research and development company Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories, which helped to develop the new fuel tank.

“Similarly, eVTOL and drone makers can significantly extend their range and/or flight time, opening new markets and opportunities,” he added. “HyPoint is pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology and we are excited to be working toward a shared vision for zero-emission hydrogen aviation.”

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