Practical info: how a hydrogen aircraft engine works

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A hydrogen aircraft engine works on the principle of jet propulsion, similar to a conventional turbine engine. However, instead of burning fossil fuel, it useshydrogen as fuelwhich makes it much more eco-friendly.

The hydrogen is stored in high pressure tanks on board the aircraft. When it is necessary to produce thrust, hydrogen is injected into the combustion chamber of the engine. Inside this chamber, it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air, and a chemical reaction takes place, producing intense heat.

This heat generated by the combustion of hydrogen causes the gases to expand at high temperature, creating high pressure. These expanding gases are directed towards the rear of the engine through nozzles, thereby generating propulsive thrust. It is this principle of Newton’s third law that allows the plane to propel itself in the opposite direction and gain speed.

The main advantage of hydrogen as a fuel is that it only produces water as a by-product during combustion. No air pollutants or CO2 emissions are released, making it an environmentally friendly option and helping to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation.

However, the development of hydrogen aircraft engines still presents challenges. Since hydrogen is less dense than traditional fuels, it requires larger tanks to store an equivalent amount of energy. This can increase the overall weight of the aircraft, affecting its fuel efficiency and flight range.

Nevertheless, the aviation industry is actively exploring new technologies and innovative solutions to make hydrogen engines more efficient and viable on a large scale. With advances in research and development, hydrogen aircraft engines could play a crucial role in the transition to more sustainable and environmentally friendly aviation in the future.

John Walker Avatar