Thermoplastic hydrogen tank project

Collins Aerospace has been selected to lead a consortium to develop new thermoplastics technology for liquid hydrogen tanks.

The project is part of the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, an EU project to develop hydrogen-powered aircraft, with partners including the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), Delft University of Technology, ATR Aircraft, Novotech, and Unified International.

While liquid hydrogen contains around three times as much energy per kg as traditional jet fuel, it has a lower specific density meaning that it requires nearly four times as much volume to match the energy content of the same mass of traditional jet fuel, the company said. To overcome this, strong and lightweight thermoplastic tank structures are required.

"The COCOLIH2T project addresses the challenges of shifting from traditional jet fuel to a fully sustainable, clean burning hydrogen fuel," said Mary Lombardo, vice president, advanced technologies at Collins Aerospace.

Collins reportedly plans to develop a manufacturing process that enables a 60% reduction in production energy consumption and at least 50% in production time.