The return of the Hindenburg: the airship flies with explosive hydrogen

The fascination for airships did not disappear with the Hindenburg fire, but the giants of the air could only survive in niches. Airplanes were much faster, and airships were relatively expensive to operate. Because mostly safe helium was used instead of explosive hydrogen.

As modern materials prevented the gas from gradually escaping through the envelope, the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčemission-free aviation has once again become an attractive alternative to airplanes. The reason is simple: the airship remains in the air due to the thrust of the gas. It just needs energy to keep going, but not to keep from falling. So unlike an airplane, whose engines must always generate a flow of air around the surfaces.

Low consumption

The H2 Clipper goes a step further than other designs. It does not use helium, but hydrogen. Hydrogen can burn explosively, but the gas achieves greater buoyancy than helium due to its weight. At the same size, gas can carry much more cargo. And indeed, the clipper is destined to compete with merchant ships and trains: the clipper will move 150 tons and have a range of 10,000 kilometers. At 280 km / h it is slow compared to airplanes, but very fast compared to sea and rail traffic. The zero-emission aircraft of the future will have to use a much higher glide fraction, which will result in a reduction in their speed advantage.

Plus, an airship doesn’t require complex logistics, it doesn’t need much more than a lawn to take off and land. The goods can be collected directly by a customer and delivered to their destination. This is also why transportation should only cost a quarter of today’s air travel – with a complete foregoing of fossil fuels. The H2 Clipper is filled with green hydrogen and is also powered. Ultimately, it could also be used as a gas carrier.

Hydrogen as the energy of the future

The growing spread of climate-neutral gas will lower the fear threshold for hydrogen. Without passengers aboard the H2, no one will be in danger. The Clipper maneuvers autonomously with the possibility of remote control of the drone. Introduced the H2 Clipper 2021, the first tests of air resistance and related fuel consumption have now been completed. A smaller prototype is expected to fly in 2025, and the first full-size hydrogen airship could be completed in 2028.

Leave a Comment