Source: Intelligent Energy, 2022
The future: hydrogen-powered drones
The drone industry is another exciting frontier for hydrogen-powered flight. Luxfer Gas Cylinders has supplied hydrogen cylinders to Intelligent Energy for around five years, supporting its product testing within fuel cell systems.
Weight is critical in aerospace, and the team at Intelligent Energy has produced a very lightweight fuel cell. This offers the potential to extend flight times significantly, and decrease refuel windows, making hydrogen an attractive power source for this burgeoning market.
However, safety remains paramount for cylinders in such environments, where temperature changes and unstable conditions are common. In response, we supply Type 3 cylinder technology, as a robust solution.
Harnessing hydrogen for ground operations
In the broader scheme of aviation carbon reduction, the vehicles and equipment supporting ground operations around aircraft also play a significant role. These present another route for implementing hydrogen, and the developmental efforts required are less substantial compared to air-bound applications.
For example, ground equipment, like tugs, auxiliary generators, passenger buses that run around terminals and baggage vehicles could all be powered by hydrogen, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of the industry. Luxfer Gas Cylinders has partnered with a range of companies for these kinds of carbon-free solutions.
The infrastructure challenge remains a barrier however, with the transition to hydrogen requiring modifications to airport fuelling, storage, and handling procedures. Yet, these barriers are not insurmountable, as demonstrated by the budget airline easyJet's recent identification of hydrogen as a key element in its net-zero pathway.
In addition, ZeroAvia has launched a partnership with Birmingham Airport (BHX), which aims to deliver the first hydrogen-powered domestic passenger journeys to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast and Dublin in the next couple of years.
As the aerospace industry seeks reliable and safe solutions, Luxfer Gas Cylinders' trusted expertise in transporting gas in extreme environments – based on a legacy of decades in storage solutions - instils confidence. With the hydrogen revolution continuing at pace, operators will seek lightweight and high-pressure solutions – cornerstones of Luxfer's product range.
To find out more about Luxfer Gas Cylinders’ alternative fuel offering, visit: www.luxfercylinders.com/products/alternative-fuel