Hydrogen-powered aeroplane could fly around the world for the first time in 2028

Much has already been said about the pollution of current aircraft models, but now innovators and technology companies could enter the field, putting hydrogen-powered aircraft in the air, which could have great significance both environmentally and commercially.

Climate Impulse is the name of the mission that “will be living proof that we can do better with less”, according to its inventor Bertrand Piccard, as reported in Innovators magazine. A feat that will be made possible by a partnership between the Swiss explorer and engineer Raphaël Dinelli, which will enable the development of a hydrogen-powered aeroplane that will make a non-stop, zero-emissions journey around the world.

The aircraft will travel for nine days and is intended to inspire climate initiatives. Piccard was the first to make a non-stop balloon flight in the world in 1999 and wants to repeat the feat almost thirty years later, in 2028, with the new equipment.

The aeroplane will take two years to build and test flights are scheduled for between 2026 and 2027.

This is yet another advance in the race for alternative solutions to the current models of air transport with high levels of pollution from the use of fossil fuels. In 2023, a French start-up announced the launch of a “Airship” powered by solar energy and hydrogen that will fly round the world in 2026. The 20-day flight will be non-stop, covering 40,000 kilometres in a west-east direction.

The aircraft, called Solar Airship One, is 151 metres long and will be filled with 50,000 m³ of helium gas. Two types of sources will supply its propulsion system: during the day, solar energy, which will fill almost 5,000 m² of the upper part of the aircraft, and at night, hydrogen will be used to power a fuel cell.

The project has been ten years in the making, with the last three years being perfected with the involvement of a technology company, according to Euro Airship. 

Paraffin is the main fuel used for aeroplane journeys. Burning it produces a number of dangerous pollutants that contribute to global warming, such as carbon monoxide and dioxide, gaseous hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

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