The FlyZero project, which is led by the Aerospace Technology Institute and is funded by the UK government, has come up with a concept for a liquid hydrogen-powered midsize aircraft. The aircraft is based on the Boeing 767 class design, which has a 54-meter wingspan and two turbofan engines. This concept plane would be able to fly 280 passengers non-stop from London to Auckland, New Zealand, or halfway around the world, with only one stop for refueling. These flights, it is suggested, would offer the “same speed and comfort as today’s aircraft” but with zero carbon emissions.

Figure 1: A new design concept for the twin-aisle cabin aircraft – ATI

Source:  Aerospace Technology  Institute – concept

The new design that ATI proposes (see Figure 1) has a varying cross-section. This promotes the natural laminar flow of air, making the airplane more efficient in flight. Figure 1 on close inspection shows this cross-sectional difference with the forward cabin being a single aisle, while about one-third of the way down that aisle, it splits into two aisles. This is quite contrasted with the standard tube design of current aircraft.

ATI says its concept plane would have cryogenic fuel tanks in the rear fuselage. Hydrogen fuel would be stored at -250o C, and in addition, two smaller “cheek” tanks are located along the forward fuselage. This placement of hydrogen storage tanks keeps the plane balanced as the fuel is consumed during the flight.

Under FlyZero’s midsize-first scenario, these wide-body planes would enter service in the early 2030s to de-risk the technology introduction. Narrow-body adoption of the down-scaled technology would follow. Market prospects are considered by ATI to be significant.

The choice for selecting this large aircraft as a starting point for ATI’s concept and design is the need to be bold. Additionally, they believe that large civil aircraft should be the priority for abating carbon dioxide, given their size.

ATI has published a Sustainability Report for further reading on this topic.

Notes for this web story were sourced from Techcrunch and from Aviation Weekly