Poll: Is Hydrogen the Future of Aviation?


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  1. If electric airplanes, carrying humans and other heavy stuff, ever become much more than a science experiment, hydrogen fuel cells will be the reason why. Chemical batteries have a weight-to-power ratio that makes them ridiculously unsuitable for much real-world aviation use, while hydrogen is lighter than air and packs a lot more energy in the same volume. It also has the potential to be much “greener” than batteries will ever be.

    There’s a lot more work to be done and infrastructure to be developed, but I’d put my money on hydrogen fuel cell electric aircraft revolutionizing the industry. I think battery electric planes will have niche markets for things like primary flight training and short-haul package delivery (by drone) but are unlikely to be hauling passengers across the Atlantic.

  2. The European Union (EU) published its first report on cryoplanes in 2003. A second study followed, in 2020. Researchers at Penn State made similar proposals, beginning in 2006. The main obstacle isn’t
    utility or cost-effectiveness but aircraft safety. Despite advances design, the risk of flammability remains high, just as it was when the Hindenburg exploded, in 1937. One disaster would shutter the whole industry.
    Worse yet, it would abruptly end efforts to curb pollution (CO2 emissions). The choice is not between (e.g.)
    high performance and fuel economy, operating expenses vs. anticipated revenues, or flying range vs. cargo and/or passenger capacity. It’s between life and death–or between fast death (fatal crash) and slow death
    (ecocide). The answer (if any) may lie in a third alternative–lasers. May the beam be aimed at the brain.