LONDON – GKN Aerospace, a British aerospace and automotive company, has revealed that it has the future of Hydrogen Electric Propulsion for the larger aircrafts in is sights. They company have closed a step further by harnessing what is known as Cryogenic Hyperconducting Technology.
The H2GEAR program, as it is named by GKN, has already passed a major milestone as it completed its first round of system level trade studies. This was primarily focused on propulsion system architecture and subsystem technology for hypothetical 19-, 48- and 96-seater passenger aircraft.
Speaking on this remarkable day, Vice President Technology for GKN Aerospace, Max Brown stated that:
“Our initial view was that the introduction of hydrogen electric propulsion to 19 PAX aircraft would be easier than for large aircraft, however, development of the hyperconducting network and cryogenic motor technology has opened our eyes to the possibility of efficiently scaling the technology to 96 PAX and potentially beyond.
GKN and its Hyperconducting future
The hyperconducting system program developed by GKN Aerospace has a unique system flow which has been researched and being developed by the company at its UK-based plant.
The proposed system uses the onboard liquid hydrogen as a heat sink, which helps cooling the electrical conductors maintaining the temperature below -2000C.
This process dramatically reduce their electric resistivity, which further facilitates electric power distribution at low voltage distributed via lower mass conducting cables and electric motors which can achieve 99% efficiency.
The H2GEAR was launched by the GKN Aerospace in early 2020 to develop a scalable hydrogen electric propulsion technology for upcoming new generation aircraft.
The new system generates electric power from hydrogen by using fuel cells, which in turn distributes electric power to motors who in turn drive low pressure ratio duct fans.
Contrail & noise reduction
According to the GKN Aerospace, this approach of H2GEAR implementation will eliminate CO2 and NOx emissions and provides opportunities for contrail mitigation, along with noise reduction opportunities relative to the conventional propulsion system.
GKN Aerospace has asserted that it is at the heart of the technology development as their core values and these developments are needed for the future of sustainable aviation.
The integrated ground-based demonstration of the H2GEAR technology is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and its entry for the commercial use with hydrogen powered aircraft is set to launched by 2035.
Adding further to the GKN’s immense success on H2GEAR program, Mr. Max Brown stated that, “This is a truly ground-breaking programme, bringing together some of the world’s top experts to develop technology that will really move the dial on global emissions. We are on track and the initial studies have been every bit as successful as we hoped.”
This commitment by GKN Aerospace highlights the future of fuel cell integration with combined hyperconducting power networks and motor drive systems. This will enable hydrogen and electric propulsion to be scaled up more quickly than it was originally proposed, concluded the company in its press statement.