Composite tanks for civil aviation

Toray has received funding to develop a long-life, fully composite liquid hydrogen tank for civil aviation.

According to the company, hydrogen has been identified by the European Commission (EC) as a key priority to achieve the European Green Deal for a sustainable economy. By using composites instead of metal, a liquid hydrogen composite tank could be light enough to make liquid hydrogen a more sustainable fuel source, and therefore more viable for civil aviation. It could also lower the carbon footprint of air travel and increase the flight range of aircraft fleet by reducing construction weight and cost, Toray said.

Plans are to develop a lightweight composite tank that can withstand the low (-253°C) temperature of liquid hydrogen. The project will focus on both composite tank construction, digital design strategies, and production technologies.

The funding from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy applies to a consortium also including Aircraft Development and Systems Engineering (ADSE), Airborne, Bold Findings, Cryoworld, GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business, IT’S Engineering, KVE, NLR, PhotonFirst Technologies, Somni Solutions, TANIQ, Technical University Delft and SAM|XL.

“This project underlines the commitment across the supply chain to drive forward sustainable propulsion technologies and is conducted in full alignment with the major aircraft and engine manufacturers,’ said Frank Meurs, MD, Toray Advanced Composites.