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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • May 9, 2022

The fuel system will require some of the ammonia to be cracked into hydrogen before being fed into the turbofan engine. Engine exhaust heat will be fed back into the ammonia cracker.

Australian company Aviation H2 hopes to clean up commercial flight by converting existing aircraft to burn green ammonia instead of jet fuel. Director Christof Mayer tells us the team plans to have a 9-seat business jet flying on ammonia by mid-2023.

The company's initial target is to get a small regional nine-seat jet built and flight tested. After three months of feasibility studies, it's signed an agreement with charter operator FalconAir, giving Aviation H2 access to FalconAir's hangars, facilities and operating licenses. FalconAir will help acquire turbofan engines for ground-based testing, as well as the aircraft itself, most likely a Dassault Falcon 50 business jet, since it's got three engines, but can run on two.

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Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on May 11, 2022

Great to see ammonia-fueled aviation getting the attention it deserves.  And it's cool that they choose such a flag-ship of a small jet to use for their demonstration: Mach 0.86 speed and 3500 mile range.  The long-term ultimate potential of ammonia jets is to get 43% of the range of the oil-burning version*, which would be 1500 miles for the Falcon 50 they chose.  So it could cross the country with just one stop.  (Their 2023 prototype will be much worse; apparently they're just putting an hour's worth of ammonia tanks in the baggage hold, rather than converting the larger wing tanks).

The other interesting thing in the article is the $10M NASA-funded program at the Florida university to study ammonia fueled jet aviation; that's very encouraging.

* ammonia has 43% as much energy per unit mass as diesel & jet fuel.

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