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Collins Aerospace to lead development of hydrogen tanks
New technology aims to power sustainable aircraft in future
Mar. 6, 2023 1:55 pm
Collins Aerospace has been selected to lead a group developing thermoplastics technology for liquid hydrogen tanks that will power sustainable aircraft in the future.
The consortium will bring together Collins’ sites in Ireland, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands and the United States with NLR, Delft University of Technology, ATR, Novotech and Unified International, according to a Collins news release.
While liquid hydrogen contains approximately three times as much energy per kilogram as traditional jet fuel, it has a lower “specific density,” meaning it requires nearly four times as much volume to match the energy content of the same mass of traditional jet fuel.
To overcome this, thermoplastic tank structures are in development. A strong, lightweight tank design is the focus of the COCOLIH2T project, the news release stated.
The project “addresses the challenges of shifting from traditional jet fuel to a fully sustainable, clean burning hydrogen fuel" said Mary Lombardo, vice president of advanced technologies at Collins Aerospace. "Hydrogen tanks must reduce weight and enable containment of cryogenic fluid.”
The project, she said, “is the kind of aerospace industry cross-collaboration Collins is focused on to reduce the environmental impact of aviation and lead us to a sustainable future."
This project has the potential to design and manufacture “a disruptive tank through novel fabrication technologies, enabling a 60 percent reduction in production energy consumption and at least 50 percent in production time, leading to significantly lower manufacturing costs,” Lombardo stated.
Thermoplastic composites are technologically advanced materials that are lightweight, suitable for extreme temperatures and have the capacity to be recycled.
The Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is a public-private partnership, funded by the European Union, supporting research and innovation activities in hydrogen technologies in Europe. For more information, visit clean-hydrogen.europa.eu.
Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies Corp. business, is the largest employer in Cedar Rapids.