These New Cryogenic Tanks By Airbus Will be Supported By Hydrogen At -253°C

Airbus is developing novel cryogenic hydrogen storage tanks to enable maximum liquid hydrogen-fueled aircraft. Liquid hydrogen must be stored at -253 degrees Celsius.

Two essential technologies, in the view of Airbus, enable an aeroplane to fly straight on hydrogen. Hydrogen combustion may power an engine through modified gas turbine engines, and hydrogen fuel cells can provide energy. It is also possible to use a hybrid system that combines the two technologies.

However, one element stays constant, i.e., liquid hydrogen must be stored at -253°C and maintained at that temperature during the flight.

Airbus established Zero Emission Development Centers (ZEDCs) in Nantes, France, and Bremen, Germany, some 15 months ago to design and construct hydrogen tanks.

Ariane Group and Airbus Defence and Space, both of which have experience with hydrogen, are located close to Bremen. In addition, the coldbox, which manages the gasification of liquid hydrogen, is built in Bremen, while the tank is made in Nantes.

The construction of this tank differs significantly from current methods. First, the teams adopted a co-development strategy, acknowledging that they would need to invent, try, fail, and adjust quickly if they were to move rapidly and effectively. The teams, therefore, intended to produce a prototype right away, test it, and gain knowledge from it before creating an improved version.

Engineers in Toulouse start the process of commercializing this ground-breaking technology by designing cryogenic hydrogen tanks using computer software. The teams in Bremen and Nantes then analyze these designs and look at the manufacturing procedures.

Once the design has been decided upon, the first prototype tank is tested using nitrogen rather than hydrogen. Airbus is currently in this phase.

The test results and observations are gathered, and a second prototype that will be hydrogen-filled is created using all of this data.

The second tank, whose construction and testing will take another year, is currently underway at Airbus. The goal is to prepare a tank for the A380 demonstration by 2026–2028.

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