A new concept of more environmentally friendly aircraft

NASA funds an aeronautical research project on a new fuel concept.

NASA has decided to release USD 6 million over three years to fund a research project at the University of Illinois.

Air traffic is entirely dependent on the use of hydrocarbons, and generates a large amount of greenhouse gases. Air travel forecasts for the United States are expected to increase by 90% over the next 20 years, according to phys.org website.

The research project of the University of Illinois is therefore interested in new electric propulsion systems for commercial aircraft.

These systems use liquid hydrogen as a method of energy storage. Hydrogen energy is converted into electrical energy by fuel cells, which power the propulsion system of the device. Low temperatures also allow the use of superconducting energy transmission.

According to Philippe Ansell, principal investigator on the project, the operation is close to that of an MRI.

"However, these necessary electrical drivetrain systems do not yet exist, and the methods for integrating electrically driven propulsion technologies into an aircraft platform have not yet been effectively established. This program seeks to address this gap and make foundational contributions in technologies that will enable fully electric aircraft of the future."