Interest in green technology in aviation is increasing. To address environmental issues, novel fuels such as cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2) are being explored, however there are safety concerns. This work combines safety studies to explore LH2 fuel safety for civil aviation. Preliminary hazard analyses (PHAs) (utilizing over 70 standards and guides) have been performed identifying possible LH2 hazards on-board aircraft. A PHA has also been produced, with industry stakeholder involvement, to understand the major concerns for LH2 use at airports.
Gaps in fundamental knowledge and LH2 technology have been identified, and two of these explored. Firstly, work has been started to understand the fundamental flammability of hydrogen in altitude conditions. Secondly, FLACS CFD modelling has been used to simulate large-scale LH2 pool releases to examine behavior and predict pool size, downwind flammable regions, and flammable mass clouds formed for different environmental conditions and release scenarios. This has identified significant effects of wind speed on buoyancy and flammable cloud travel which must be taken into account of any hydrogen fuel facility design.
This work (part of the EC funded ENABLEH2 project) is some of the first in over a decade to re-examine the safety of hydrogen propulsion in aircraft. This process has identified wide-ranging issues that must be addressed before hydrogen propulsion can be introduced in civil aviation.