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First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!

 
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07/12/2005 12:13 PM
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First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
By Richard Black
Republished from BBC NEWS
A US company says it has completed test flights of a potentially environment-friendly aircraft

A US company says it has successfully completed test flights of a potentially environment-friendly aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen.

Liquid hydrogen stored on board and oxygen extracted from the air are combined in fuel cells. The electricity generated drives the propellers.

California-based AeroVironment says a full tank of hydrogen would keep the unmanned plane in the air for 24 hours.

Planes using fuel cells might help curb greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

The aircraft, called Global Observer, looks more like a glider than a conventionally powered plane, with its wingspan of over 15m, small fuselage slung underneath and extended, “dragon-fly” tail.

Along the front edge of the wing is a line of eight propellers. What is innovative is their power source.

“We’re carrying liquid hydrogen on board at very low temperatures,” AeroVironment’s Director of Washington Operations, Alex Hill, told BBC News. “So the insulation on the tank is crucial.”

Secret design

The precise design of the tank is being kept under wraps, as is the nature of the fuel cells which combine hydrogen and oxygen, the latter extracted from the air as the plane flies.

“These flights were a proving ground, first of all to ensure we could handle the liquid hydrogen – we had lots of tests of that on the ground,” said Mr Hill.

“Then we wanted to fly the technology, but we didn’t fuel the plane all the way up – if we had done, we could have flown for about 24 hours. But as it is, we had two flights of just over an hour each.”

The plane, which looks like a glider, was first flown on 26 May at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. A second test flight took place on 2 June.

The company previously fitted a fuel cell propulsion system to its mainly solar-powered plane Helios, which set an altitude record for a non-rocket-powered winged aircraft in 2001 when it climbed to 29.5km (96,863ft).

However, Helios broke apart on a subsequent flight in June 2003 before the fuel cell system could be evaluated.

The company believes aircraft along the lines of Global Observer could be used as telecommunications platforms, replacing or complementing the role of satellites.

Of more general interest is the principle of hydrogen-powered craft to reduce the growing impact of aviation on climate change.

Travel boom

Greenhouse gas emissions from air travel are growing faster than those from any other economic sector.

[link to news.bbc.co.uk]

Last Edited by Phennommennonn on 10/23/2011 02:35 PM
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Rex (OP)

12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
Cool. I want one of those engines.
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
Where do they get the hydrogen from?
AA (OP)

12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
Most abundant element in the universe. I am not sure, but my first guess would be from H20.
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Her Majesty (OP)

12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
Thats very cool. i must admit though, i think i will wait until after a few million people have flown on one safely before i buy my tickets
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
The hydrogen will come from H2O...
but this will require electricty generated most likely from burning fossil fuels. Nothing is solved here other than centralizing the pollution.
Her Majesty (OP)

12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
>most likely from burning fossil fuels.<

you are assuming an aweful lot considering its not the only way to generate power
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
Not only are they centralizing polution...They are hell bent on putting even more explosive potential in the sky...

Bad enough when jet-fueled planes crash...Try one with a tank full of Hydrogen...
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
"you are assuming an aweful lot considering its not the only way to generate power"

You have viable alternatives to fossil fuels other than nuclear (the huggers won´t allow any new plants) or hydro-electric (the huggers won´t allow any new dams)???

Solar still takes more energy to build than you get out of it over the lifetime of the cells, and no one wants wind farms in their backyard...
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
I am merely pointing out that hydrogen is NOT an alternate power SOURCE. Like any other system, it will require more energy to produce it from water than it will produce when it is ignited.

Also, once it is produced, it will have to be transported and distributed.

The problem of finding a cheap alternative to fossil fuels still remains.
AC (OP)

12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
There is the ocean currents to derive energy from.
"Pray, v:. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy." - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
a full tank of hydrogen in cars and planes......


Oh boy.......
More bang for your buck!

I agree 1048, hydrogen is NOT an alternate power SOURCE! But that´s part of the plan isn´t it.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: First Hydrogen Powered Plane flown in America. Finally some good news!
I disagree with 1048 about hydrogen from water being a viable power source. Deuterium is a viable power source in a variety of was. Ordinary hydrogen is too. Look at this Bingo Fuel reactor which creates hydrogen instantly by plasma electrolysis - here you can see an engine running on a tank of water using the Bingo fuel reactor.

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