The first aircraft took to the skies just over 100 years ago. Now, over 23,000 aircraft carry more than 4 billion passengers around the world every year. But bringing the world closer together has come at a cost.
AeroDelft is a TU Delft student team having a goal of emission-free aviation just unveiled a prototype of the world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft named Phoenix PT.
AeroDelft just announced that it recently completed the ground tests for the crew-less Phoenix PT, which weighs about 113 pounds. It will carry two pounds of liquid hydrogen for its maiden flight.
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AeroDelft calculates Phoenix PT will have a range of 311 miles and flight time of up to seven hours.
With a wingspan of 164 feet, the full-scale Phoenix FS will have a crew of two and hold up to 22 pounds of liquid hydrogen for an expected range of 1,243 miles and flight time of up to 10 hours.
AeroDelft chose liquid hydrogen to fuel its Phoenix aircraft because hydrogen is not only the world’s lightest element, but it can pack three times the energy of fossil fuels without emitting any greenhouse gases.
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The two-passenger model’s 2022 flight will be powered by gaseous hydrogen. In 2024, Phoenix FS is expected to fly with liquid hydrogen.
AeroDelft began building a full-scale, two-passenger aircraft Phoenix FS last October. It is scheduled to make its first flight in 2022.
It emits only water vapor. Phoenix is also designed to have an unusually low noise profile, with a tail-mounted electric motor.
AeroDelft’s sights are set beyond the flight of the Phoenix, with the team’s projection for the first hydrogen-powered flight around the world to happen by 2025, and the first commercial, hydrogen-powered aircraft to begin operations by 2035.
Airbus also plans to fly its first zero-emission commercial aircraft that year. Its zero program is looking at different configurations and technologies for hydrogen power.
AeroDelft team comprising of student from 23 nationalities, started the hydrogen aircraft project in September 2018.
Curious about our team? In the video below you can see all the departments within AeroDelft and what they do.