Germany’s leading engine manufacturer, MTU Aero Engines, and aerospace company MT Aerospace have joined forces to develop a comprehensive liquid hydrogen (LH2) fuel system for commercial aviation. The partnership was officially announced at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. The initial application of this innovative system will be MTU’s Flying Fuel Cell™.
The collaboration between MTU Aero Engines and MT Aerospace stems from a shared vision of achieving zero-emission flight. Over the past few years, the two companies have been working together on the development of the LH2 fuel system specifically designed for commercial aviation applications. The system encompasses various components such as tanks, sensors, heat exchangers, valves, safety systems, and control systems. The progress of the project has been promising, with the first system set to undergo testing at MT Aerospace in Augsburg by the end of the year.
MT Aerospace, known for its extensive expertise in hydrogen technology within the aerospace sector, aims to leverage its knowledge and apply it to the realm of commercial aviation. The company will be responsible for the cryogenic hydrogen storage and supply system, as well as the development of additively manufactured heat exchangers, sensors, and system integration. This expertise is a result of sustainable technology innovations and numerous product-based cryogenic system tests conducted by MT Aerospace.
The safety system, control system, and valve technology fall under the purview of MTU Aero Engines. The company will also lead the overall systems development and collaborate closely with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to meet certification and safety requirements. Initially, starting from 2035, the MTU fuel cell will be deployed on shorter routes in the shuttle and regional aviation sector. As the efficiency of the technology improves, its application will expand to cover short and medium-haul routes, further reducing the environmental impact of commercial aviation. Additionally, with minor modifications, the LH2 fuel system developed for the Flying Fuel Cell™ could potentially be adapted for direct hydrogen combustion in aircraft engines, offering even more possibilities for emissions reduction.
The development of a complete liquid hydrogen fuel system for commercial aviation holds immense potential for transforming the industry and significantly reducing its carbon footprint. Hydrogen is a clean and sustainable energy carrier that, when utilized in fuel cells, produces only water as a byproduct, eliminating harmful greenhouse gas emissions. By harnessing the power of LH2, the partnership between MTU Aero Engines and MT Aerospace aims to pave the way for a more sustainable future of aviation.