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NASA creating the world’s first electric aircraft powered by the ‘holy grail’ frozen hydrogen as a fuel to save the Earth from eco disaster

connectVideoHypersonic plane passes crucial test

A supersonic ‘spaceplane’ just passed a crucial test for the precooler component. If and when the jet is available for commercial use, it could fly people from London to New York in less than 60 minutes.

NASA-funded scientists are working on an environmentally friendly electric airplane powered by the cryogenic-liquid hydrogen as a fuel.

The engineers have gotten three years and $6 million (£4.6 million) for the creation of the tech that could revolutionize the aviation industry.

The aviation industry is often lambasted not doing enough to help save the environment.

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The International Air Transport Association has estimated that more passengers will get on planes in 2036 than there are people alive today.

Although the IATA claims that the air travel only accounts for 2% of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide in 2017, many people think that the number is higher and it is definitely going to increase.

Artist’s rendition of an advanced commercial transport aircraft concept to make use of CHEETAH systems. Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Aerospace engineering

At the same time, hydrogen is ultimately a cost-effective fuel.

However, hydrogen cells on their own can power either of trains or of the turbines, but they lack the ability to power a jet engine without weighing it down, as they take up a lot of space.

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Fortunately, the University of Illinois researchers who work on the project have found a way to cryogenically cooling hydrogen cells, so that they can be summarized in a liquid and used as a fuel.

When this hydrogen is liquid that is mixed with oxygen in the engine there is a powerful reaction, which results in a lot of energy that can be converted into electricity to drive an electric actuator.

The technology to power an aircraft using this fuel does not exist and that is where Nasa comes up with their funding.

1 / 1Concept sketch of a fully electric aircraft platform that uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen as an energy storage method. Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Aerospace engineering

The researchers have warned that the air travel in the U.S. is expected to increase 90 percent in the next 20 years, so they want a device that actively reduce emissions.

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The principal investigator of the project Phillip Ansell said: “in Essence, the program focuses on the development of a fully electric aircraft platform that uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen as an energy storage method.

“The hydrogen is chemical energy converted into electrical energy by means of a series of fuel cells, which drive the ultra-efficient electric drive. The low-temperature requirements of the hydrogen also to provide opportunities for the use of superconducting, or lossless, energy, transmission, and high-power motor systems.”

He came to the conclusion that his team hopes to address gaps in the technology of electric aircraft designing and creating the first all-electric aircraft of the future.

Click here for more from The Sun, where this story first appeared.

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