Aerodelft: a small liquid hydrogen aircraft by Delft University

Aerodelft: a small liquid hydrogen aircraft by Delft University
Aerodelft: a small liquid hydrogen aircraft by Delft University

As part of Go Hydrogen in Antwerp, of which Hydrogen Today is a partner, students are presenting their Aerodelft project. It is a small plane that combines the talents of young students and aeronautical firms.

The Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, is definitely active in the hydrogen field. During the summer 2023, a team from the university set a new distance record with the Eco Runner. The Aerodelft project is its aeronautical counterpart. At Go Hydrogen, a model of the airplane can be seen, which is in fact the prototype. A more advanced version is presented in the form of a 3D rendering, on a poster as well as on the website. The kakemono on the university’s stand features a flock of partners, including Airbus and KLM, and hydrogen industry players such as Powercell, Bosch, H3 Dynamics and Air Products.

The project is supported by the NLR, the Dutch aerospace research center.

A scheduled first flight for 2026

The aircraft is called Phoenix. It is a two-seater based on the Sling Aircraft Sling4 model. The bill of specifications is aiming for a two-hour flight time, with a range of 400 km. Phoenix is powered by a 125 kW fuel cell. The Delft students are planning a flight in 2025 using gaseous hydrogen (with a 1.45 kg storage capacity). But their final goal is to take 10 kg of liquid hydrogen on board. One of their partners, Cryoworld, will supply a suitable tank.

The prototype version boasts a range of 300 km, with a 1.5 kW fuel cell and two storage modes: gaseous (40 g) and liquid (380 g). The Delft students have come as neighbors (less than 90 km separate Delft from Antwerp), and they believe that their work will make it possible to use liquid hydrogen on a larger scale in aviation. They are also taking part in a certification working group.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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