New liquid hydrogen tank tech on the horizon

In an effort to lessen the aviation industry’s negative environmental effects, TISICS, an aerospace manufacturing expert, is leading a new project to create lightweight components, among them hydrogen tanks. To help the UK fulfill its commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050, this initiative focuses on hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel for commercial aviation.

A partnership of UK-based SMEs and research organizations with more than 30 years of experience and expertise in materials, manufacturing, design, computational modeling, testing, and product safety come together under the umbrella of AETHER, which is co-funded by the ATI Programme.

The AETHER project, a partnership between TISICS, M.Wright & Sons, OXECO, and the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) at the University of Derby, aims to create scalable manufacturing techniques that can produce sizable liquid hydrogen storage tanks for future airplanes.

If the UK wants to achieve its net zero goals and make sure that the UK leads the deployment of hydrogen-powered aircraft, sustainable aviation is essential. According to estimates, fuel-cell propulsion reduces the in-flight climate impact by 75–90% and hydrogen combustion by 50–75%.

The goal of AETHER is to solve the problems that traditional materials have when trying to store cryogenic hydrogen for prolonged use in airplanes. To meet the functional requirements of tanks for long-term, safe aircraft use, the project will develop scalable technology, optimize the use of various material systems, and give the UK rare chances to develop sophisticated tank manufacturing technologies with global markets.

By advancing the UK’s aerospace industry and export market potential through the development of this technology, the nation will be able to meet its goal of a net zero future and add new sophisticated engineering and manufacturing employment.

The ATI is happy to promote AETHER because it is a unique option for the UK, according to Prof. Simon Weeks, the organization’s chief technical officer. In order to address a critical difficulty for hydrogen fuel storage systems, TISICS and its consortium partners are creating a special capability. Their high-performance material approach will result in significantly better weight economy and be crucial in the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft.

“We’re thrilled to combine world-leading expertise in multi-material coatings, 3D woven composites, advanced modeling, and net shape production to face the challenge of delivering future lightweight hydrogen propulsion systems,” said Stephen Kyle-Henney, managing director of TISICS. AETHER has the chance to develop the key building blocks needed to hasten the uptake of manufacturing hydrogen-powered devices in the UK.

The University of Derby’s project leader and professor of composite materials, Professor Angelo Maligno, said: “We look forward to working with our partners on this project to enhance the dependability of materials and inform standards that direct the development and application of hydrogen technologies.

The crew is excited to contribute to this study on liquid hydrogen storage systems because it will have a big influence on lowering aviation’s carbon footprint.