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Designers hope hydrogen-powered plane will fly halfway around the world without refueling


One of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to developing carbon-free transportation is flying. Commercial electric planes won’t be feasible until batteries become more powerful and lightweight. Hydrogen-powered flight is another possible way forward, and a research group has revealed what such a plane could look like.
The FlyZero project, which is led by the Aerospace Technology Institute and funded by the UK government, came up with a concept for a liquid hydrogen-powered midsize aircraft. It said the plane would be able to fly 279 passengers non-stop from London to San Francisco, or from London to Auckland, New Zealand with one stop for refueling. The aircraft, which has a 54-meter wingspan with two turbofan engines, would offer the “same speed and comfort as today’s aircraft” but with zero carbon emissions.

The ATI says its concept plane would have cryogenic fuel tanks in the rear fuselage, which would store hydrogen at -250 degrees Celsius (-418 degrees Farenheit). Two smaller “cheek” tanks along the forward fuselage would keep the plane balanced as fuel is used.

We’re years away from c …

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