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Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft? American Airlines Invests in ZeroAvia

Alternative-fuel sources or new technology, such as hydrogen-powered aircraft concepts, are one of several ways to reduce the aviation sector's climate impact. Aiming to achieve lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, American Airlines announced its investment in ZeroAvia, a developer of hydrogen-electric powertrain technology that aims to “drive emissions-free flying." ( More...

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Peter Fuller 5
United, Alaska, and British Airways have already invested in ZeroAvia, so maybe American didn’t want to be left behind.
amacnabb 4
Where does the hydrogen come from? How much energy is required to produce, process and store (cryogenically) the hydrogen?

These are the minor details that are always left out of the sexy-sounding "hydrogen powered" stories.
James Werner 6
Depends. Traditional "gray" hydrogen is produced from natural gas. "Green" hydrogen is produced with electrolysis or with a steam reformer. Since both use electricity, they can be powered by renewable energy or off-peak grid energy. As with other "new" technologies, costs will drop as production methods and volumes increase. So long term, hydrogen has a low/no carbon footprint outlook.
It is the lightest gas, but unfortunately the least compressible, which is why you need cryogenics to keep the pressures of storage reasonable. If nuclear power was used to produce it, then it would be fossil-fuel-free energy storage.
Tim Dyck 4
In the end it is still just a storage device and the energy is produced elsewhere. That means that it is only as clean as the method that produces it.
TWA55 2
Sounds like a wise investment? since this technology is a long way down the road, I mean a long way. Maybe we should think how our world has been doing in creating hydrogen fuel plants. I have yet to see one and this science goes way back, kind like me. The USAF even tried to come up with an atomic powered aircraft (too much radiation exposure) has anyone seen one of those recently. I think AAL should think of better ways to invest what little profit they make. If BA and others want to make political statements let them lead the way.
sparkie624 4
1 more place to waste money!
Tim Dyck 4
If it’s affordable and viable it’s not a waste of money. The key word there is “if”.
James Werner 1
And, yet ZeroAvia's website has their aircraft, front-and-center, in full United Airlines livery.
Aviation and hydrogen don't mix. Anyone remember the Hindenburg?
Roch Comeau 3
Yeah. The aluminum oxide pain on the skin had as much to do with the fire as the hydrogen itself. Hydrogen in a talk is also a lot different than a big balloon.
sparkie624 0
You can Test the "Big Ban Theory!
Jackson Franco 1
Hydrogen will be one of humanity's key weapons in the war against carbon dioxide emissions, but it must be treated with care. New reports show how fugitive hydrogen emissions can indirectly produce warming effects 11 times worse than those of CO2.
Tim Dyck -4
“Fugitive Hydrogen Emissions”? The climate fear mongers love coming up with stupid names.
Wile on the topic are CO2 emissions really the problem those fear mongers claim it is? We are seeing the Sahara green up, increased crop yields, faster tree growth wile not seeing the negative effects we were told would happen. Looking at the planets history times of CO2 levels three and four times the present levels had more biodiversity then today and a larger amount of arable land on the planet.. On the other hand lower CO2 levels led to mass extinctions, ice ages and far less arable land.
John Anderson 1
Jackson Franco -7
ROFMLAO!!! Producing hydrogen CREATES "greenhouse gasses." Sheep, wake up!!! In the name of "climate change" the left is destroying our lives.
grains 4
Hydrogen fuel cells emit water and heat. Not greenhouse gasses.
Tim Dyck 2
As Jackson said “producing” hydrogen creates greenhouse gasses. Of course there are ways of producing hydrogen without CO2 emissions but those usually cost more. With more demand for hydrogen those costs will come down so maybe just let the market sort things out.
John Anderson 4
Until the masses get over their fear of nuclear power there will never be abundant sources of clean energy. There’s just not enough solar, wind, and hydroelectric out there.
James Werner 3
And, with reprocessing that the rest of the world uses, there is enough "spent" fuel rods in storage to power all our existing nuclear powerplants in the United States for decades to come. (Fuel rods are only 10-12% used when enough inerts accumulate to interfere with the nuclear reaction.) So, 88-90% of their unused energy sit in storage pools and casks until our myopic politics change.
Tim Dyck 1
Canada has been recycling nuclear fuel for decades but the problem is how long it takes to generate enough spent fuel to make it economically viable. Sadly the USA doesn’t recycle nuclear fuel at this time but the next generation GE reactors are being designed to use spent fuel so that should use up the US stockpiles of spent fuel.
Roch Comeau 1
I read at one point that covering a small portion of the Sahara dessert with solar panels (a lot of panels, mind you) that it could cover all the power needs of the planet, and creating all that shade would help reverse some of the man-made desertification. Of course that has insurmountable logistical issues, but the point was that we can meet all our needs with solar if we simply chose to and took on the engineering challenges which are certify solvable. Imagine a huge solar farm making enough hydrogen to fuel all aviation.


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