To accelerate the adoption of hydrogen in the aviation sector, Lufthansa Technik will collaborate with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Center for Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL), and Hamburg Airport.
Over the next two years, the companies will design and test extensive maintenance and ground processers in handling hydrogen technology, thanks to funding from the Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
At Lufthansa Technik’s Hamburg base, an Airbus A320 family aircraft will be converted into a stationary laboratory for this purpose.
Large aircraft manufacturers are turning to liquid hydrogen (LH2) as a source of sustainable fuel for future generations of aircraft.
Lufthansa Technik, DLR, ZAL, and Hamburg Airport have pooled their extensive practical and scientific expertise to investigate the effects of LH2 use on maintenance and ground processes at an early stage.
The goal is to collaborate on a ground-breaking demonstrator that will be operational by 2022.
By the end of the first phase of the project, the project partners hope to have identified the most pressing areas of development for further scientific investigation and, on that basis, to develop a concept for subsequent practical testing.
The concept’s practical implementation will begin in early 2022, and will involve the modification of decommissioned Airbus A320 aircraft.
At the same time, DLR is developing a virtual environment that will be used to achieve digital and highly accurate mapping of the defined development fields.
The new development platform is to provide inspiration for the design process of the next generation of aircraft by means of parameterised and highly accurate virtual models.
Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport, said, “Climate-friendly flying with hydrogen technology is only possible if the infrastructure on the ground also fits perfectly.
“Close coordination is required here, and we as an airport are pleased to be able to contribute our know-how to this important project – from questions of storage and distribution to the refuelling process on the apron. At the airport, we also rely on hydrogen as the technology of the future for our ground transport.
“This project offers us the chance to identify and make the best possible use of synergy effects between gaseous hydrogen, such as that used for refuelling our baggage tractors, and liquid hydrogen for aircraft refuelling.”