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KLM Launches Collaboration With AeroDelft to Build Hydrogen Aircraft

KLM has started a collaboration with the AeroDelft student team working on Project Phoenix, which is building a hydrogen-powered aircraft. The project will generate important insights, including the design of liquid hydrogen tanks and essential safety features.

KLM Starts Collaboration With AeroDelft Student Team to Build a Hydrogen Powered Airplane - Courtesy KLM

On Wednesday (April 26, 2023), KLM announced that they have started a collaboration with the AeroDelft student team to work on their Project Phoenix, a hydrogen-powered aircraft. By developing and testing the hydrogen-powered aircraft, the team hopes to gain important insights into the application of hydrogen in aviation, including the design of liquid-hydrogen tanks and crucial safety systems. As part of the initiative, KLM and AeroDelft want to contribute to the development of hydrogen technology and the associated preconditions, which could include certification and regulations, as well as distribution and transportation challenges. The AeroDelft team consists of 50 students studying at Delft University of Technology, and AeroDelft’s mission is to prove and promote hydrogen as an aviation fuel alternative.

In Wednesday’s announcement, KLM’s CXO and EVP – Business Development, Barry ter Voert, said,

“KLM wants to play a leading role in aviation innovation and is actively seeking opportunities to accelerate these developments. The brainpower and solutions of the younger generation are needed for us to think out of the box. AeroDelft's enthusiasm and hard work help tremendously with this.”

Also commenting on the collaboration, AeroDelft’s Team manager, Wouter van der Linden, added,

“We are so glad to be working with KLM on the future of aviation, it feels very rewarding to be supported by such a big industry player. Together we'll work hard on realizing new and innovative technologies and teaching the engineers of the future.”

AeroDelft and KLM Celebrate Technology Collaboration - Courtesy KLM

AeroDelft’s Project Phoenix involves the development of a hydrogen-powered drone, the ‘Phoenix Prototype’, which will serve as a stepping stone in the development of the first, manned, liquid-hydrogen-electric aircraft, the ‘Phoenix Full-Scale’. The prototype drone runs on an electric motor powered by liquid hydrogen and fuel-cell technology. Phoenix Prototype has already completed its first flight, which determined whether the drone could fly on liquid hydrogen, and if it could be successfully controlled from the ground. Additionally, the team has built the frame for the Phoenix Full-Scale and is currently testing hydrogen systems within the frame. The goal is to fly the manned aircraft by 2024 with gaseous hydrogen, and with

liquid hydrogen in 2025.

Source: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


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