The Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking, a public-private initiative cofounded by the European Union and a reference for the development of new disruptive aeronautical technologies, has given Aciturri the responsibility of leading the H2ELIOS project, which has a budget of 12.1 million euros, following the proposal evaluation phase.
In this initial appeal, Clean Aviation will commit about 728 million euros to the development of 20 projects, including those handled by two Spanish companies, Airbus Defence and Space and Aciturri, and led by European industry leaders like Rolls Royce, Airbus Operations, or Safran.
The H2ELIOS project’s goal is to create and test a liquid hydrogen tank demonstrator with a storage capacity of up to 150 kg for use in aviation. This tank will validate Aciturri’s novel hydrogen storage concept and be TRL5 mature (technology validated in an industrially relevant environment) by 2025.
In order to reduce the weight impact of using hydrogen as fuel, H2ELIOS will also show how this type of storage tank can be structurally integrated into an airplane. H2ELIOS will serve as a model for the execution of more ambitious projects in a later stage of Clean Aviation that will take into account flight testing with tanks up to 600 kg in capacity.
The reliable storage of hydrogen in aircraft is one of the major technological challenges facing the aeronautical industry on its path to decarbonization. Hydrogen has been identified as one of the primary alternative fuels to completely eliminate CO2 emissions into the atmosphere during flight operation. Both hydrogen combustion engines and fuel cells, as well as any sort of hybridization between these and the current propulsion systems, will be compatible with the tank solution to be designed in H2ELIOS. H2ELIOS will also take into account recycling options for materials and effective manufacturing techniques to ensure that the tank’s whole life cycle—which will be integrated into the fuselage—has the least amount of environmental impact and emissions.
Alestis Aerospace, Piaggio Aerospace, Pipistrel, Test-Fuchs, APPLUS, AIMEN, Fraunhofer, CIRA, NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Universidad de Patras, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and EASN are a few of the businesses, research institutions, and universities taking part as partners in H2ELIOS in collaboration with Aciturri (European Aeronautics Science Network).
To assure the solution’s continued airworthiness and certification, H2ELIOS is supported by the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and an advisory board that includes representatives from Airbus, Linde, Lufthansa Technik, Iberia, Honeywell, ENERSENS, INECO, and Cryospain.