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Hydrogen hypersonic jet: Europe to Australia in 4 hours?

Hydrogen hypersonic jet: Europe to Australia in 4 hours?

A flight from Europe to Australia currently takes about 20 hours on a normal passenger plane. A Swiss start-up wants to cut that flight time by more than four hours — with a hydrogen-powered hypersonic passenger plane.

Destiny has already tested its flight prototype in recent years and announced successful test flights of the second prototype “Eiger” at the end of 2022.

The company now wants to participate in a project run by the Spanish Ministry of Science. The Spanish government is trying to develop supersonic aircraft with hydrogen propulsion.

The competent authority “Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial” has selected the project from Switzerland as a strategic initiative for its “Plan de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas” (PTA). The total investment is 12 million euros, which includes companies, technology centers and Spanish universities.

David Bonetti, vice president of business development and products, says he’s excited about the grants. “Because they are a clear indication that Destiny matches the strategic goals of Spain and Europe to promote hydrogen aviation,” Bonetti said.

“For deep-tech companies like ours, access to this EU funding is essential to conduct cutting-edge research and accelerate innovation to compete globally.”

4 hours 15 minutes from Frankfurt to Sydney

Hydrogen as an energy carrier is the subject of many research and development projects. Proponents point to its environmental friendliness, as the combustion of hydrogen produces mainly heat and water.

The amount of heat generated poses a design challenge. Researchers at Melbourne’s RMIT University recently developed 3D-printed catalysts designed to power a hypersonic aircraft while acting as a coolant against the intense heat generated when the aircraft flies five times faster. Sound, i.e. at a speed of 6,100 kilometers per hour.

At this speed, future commercial airlines will cover the distance between London and New York in about 90 minutes.

Swiss start-up Destiny claims that with its technology, a flight from Frankfurt to Sydney will take 4 hours 15 minutes instead of 20 hours, and a flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai will take 2 hours 45 minutes, eight hours less than it currently does. Flight time.

From June 2022, Destiny is working with Spanish engine manufacturer ITP Aero to develop a hydrogen engine test facility. A grant from the Spanish government will fund the construction of a test facility near Madrid, where the hydrogen engines will be put through their paces.

Spain wants to play a pioneering role in the development and production of hydrogen-based propulsion in the future.