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European Partnership

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Clean Hydrogen Partnership

COmposite COnformal LIquid H2 Tank

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen (H2) are seen as playing a central role in a zero-emission future for aviation, but the level of penetration for H2 will depend heavily on scientific and technological breakthroughs to overcome the challenges posed by H2 powered aircraft. The safe and efficient storage of H2 on-board future aircraft is the essential enabler of H2 technologies and will be one of the most complex aerospace engineering challenges that the industry has ever faced. Improvements to existing state-of-the-art solutions includes a better utilization of the available space for fuel storage, adequate insulation techniques to minimize heat leak, continued safe operations, and a weight reduction through low-weight materials, such as thermoset or thermoplastic composites, all while addressing those materials’ inherent challenges (permeability, microcracking, thermal fatigue). COCOLIH2T consortium led by Collins Aerospace is proposing a disruptive concept focused on reducing the impact of the tank’s weight and volume within an aircraft, while ensuring system safety. COCOLIH2T will not only develop a safe composite and vacuum insulated LH2 tank for the aviation sector but has the ambition to go beyond by designing and manufacturing a conformal tank through novel fabrication technologies enabling a reduction of more than 60% in production energy consumption, at least 50% in production time leading to significantly lower manufacturing costs. Additionally, the proposed structure of the tank, based on a multi-material thermoplastic composite concept, is intended to facilitate aircraft structural integration to support overall system weight reduction compared with conventional tank configurations. The key challenge that COCOLIH2T will tackle is the generation of a feasible and affordable design of a conformal variable section box-shape tank while minimizing the boil-off leakages wherever possible. COCOLIH2T’s overall system will be demonstrated at TRL4 by 2025.