Liquid Hydrogen-Powered Plane Can Fly Halfway Across The World Without Refuelling

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A UK government-backed research firm has unveiled a new liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft that can travel halfway across the globe without needing to refuel.

The 279-seater plane by Aerospace Technology Institute, named the 'FlyZero', will perform similarly to regular passenger airliners, though it won't emit any carbon emissions during its flight.

It is hoped it could fly from London to San Francisco on the west coast of the US without stopping, or from London to New Zealand with one refuelling stop. Hydrogen on board the FlyZero will be stored in cryogenic fuel tanks, which will keep it in liquid form at minus 418°F.

FlyZero project director Chris Gear said: "At a time of global focus on tackling climate change our midsize concept sets out a truly revolutionary vision for the future of global air travel keeping families, businesses and nations connected without the carbon footprint.

"This new dawn for aviation brings with it real opportunities for the UK aerospace sector to secure market share, highly skilled jobs and inward investment while helping to meet the UK's commitments to fight climate change."

Two such tanks will be located at the rear of the plane, while a couple other "cheek" loads will be placed near the front of the plane to help maintain its balance. The only waste product from using liquid hydrogen as a fuel is water.

The aircraft's wings will span 54 meters (177 feet), each with its own turbofan engine attached. According to ATI, the "highly-efficient hydrogen-powered aircraft" will have "superior operating economics compared to conventional aircraft from the mid-2030s onwards." At the moment, the firm has received over £1.95 billion (US$2.6 billion) in funding since it was started in 2013, with £15 million (US$19.8 million) of that going towards the FlyZero concept.

Designs of the aircraft have been unveiled ahead of the fourth meeting of the Jet Zero Council, which is chaired by U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and features ministers and aviation leaders working together with the aim of reducing the sector's carbon emissions.

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