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Liquid Hydrogen Fuel Cell Propulsion System uses Helium

GKN Aerospace is developing a liquid hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system that has the potential to power a future zero-emission airliner with at least 96 seats. This technology uses cryogenic temperatures to cool down the electrical network, which lowers the resistance of the wiring, enabling higher power levels to be distributed at lower voltages and reducing wiring thickness and weight. The system is cooled by liquid hydrogen which is stored at -253°C, and uses helium gas as an intermediary substance to further cool the motors and electrical wiring. GKN has also developed solutions for fuel cell thermal management, and is conducting tests on the full powertrain ahead of its 2025 ground test. This system could potentially help tackle more than 60% of aviation’s CO2 emissions.

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