Humanitarian airship seeks world’s most-powerful hydrogen fuel cell

Aurich Lawson / Getty Photographs

“Ironic” most likely is not the correct phrase to explain the dearth of public details about Sergey Brin’s airship firm. Who higher to know the price of staying personal than one of many co-creators of a search engine that modified the world, in spite of everything. However to those that know the place to look—like eagle-eyed journalist Mark Hughes—some particulars about LTA’s plans have made it out into the open. Hughes noticed a rather revealing job opening on the firm for somebody to handle a hydrogen gas cell program.

The actually fascinating a part of the job posting exhibits up within the checklist of major duties:

Engineering hydrogen gas cell propulsion system via configuration of 1.5MW airship propulsion system together with H2 storage, gas cells, H2O seize, batteries, stern drive, and smaller electrical motors and equipment trains and retrofit of 750KW gas cell system on present airship

Sure, you learn did that appropriately, LTA is certainly seeking to configure a 1.5 MW gas cell system. For context, the hydrogen gas cell that powers the Toyota Mirai was just bumped from 113 kW to 128 kW in November, making it a thousand instances much less {powerful} than the system sought by LTA. Even the 500 kW class-8 tractor-trailers that Toyota is testing as drayage vans on the Ports of LA and Lengthy Seaside solely use a pair of Mirai gas cell methods to generate energy, and the most-powerful hydrogen gas cell that is taken to the air to this point is a 250 kW gas cell within the ZeroAvia ZA-600, a 20-seat aircraft with a spread of 500 miles (800 km).

Sometimes, megawatt-range gas cells have wanted molten carbonate or solid oxide electrolytes, however these run at extraordinarily excessive temperatures (500-1,000˚C) and are significantly better suited to stationary functions. However LTA is not the one aviation firm that is attempting to get to 1.5 MW with a hydrogen gas cell. In January, the German Aerospace Middle (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, or DLR) was awarded a $31 million (€26 million) grant to develop the same system, which it says “can be sufficient to permit the event of a regional plane with 40 to 60 seats and a spread of 1000 kilometres.”

That definitely sounds helpful if, like LTA, your plan is to construct airships for humanitarian missions.

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