Preliminary Design Considerations for Zero Greenhouse Gas Emission Airplanes 2004-01-1803
Global warming concerns are stimulating accelerated research and development of alternative fuels and propulsion systems for automobiles. The potential application of these emerging technologies to airplanes is reviewed. Preliminary designs of zero greenhouse gas emission airplanes using hydrogen fuel and either internal combustion or fuel cell-electric motor propulsion are presented for a wide body jet transport, medium jet transport, business jet, and single engine propeller airplane. The hydrogen fueled internal combustion engine airplanes offer the easiest path to zero emissions, but the greater efficiency of the fuel cell airplanes allows designs requiring substantially less fuel. The single engine propeller airplane is the easiest to modify for hydrogen fuel, because of the relatively high mass and volume of the engine being replaced. Technology improvements needed to make zero emission airplanes viable are suggested.