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The New Aviation Fuel Sources

The transportation sector is responsible for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and as the world faces the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint, there is an urgent need for sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil-fueled modes of transportation. In recent years, hydrogen has emerged as a promising solution, particularly in the aviation industry. Aviation emissions are expected to triple by 2050. HYSKY Society, a nonprofit organization, is at the forefront of advancing hydrogen aviation. Their efforts aim to promote the adoption of hydrogen as a viable fuel source for aviation, which has the potential to revolutionize the industry and significantly reduce its carbon emissions.

One way that HYSKY Society is advancing hydrogen aviation in the U.S. is by promoting innovation and supporting new and creative efforts to accomplish hydrogen extraction. Three of these technological breakthroughs definitely widen the playing field of hydrogen sources and are showing promise for future use in the aviation industry.

Sea water is an abundant source of hydrogen, and researchers at The University of Adelaide are working on technology that can extract hydrogen from untreated sea water using renewable energy sources such as solar power. This process, called electrolysis, uses electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen produced through this process can be used as fuel for aviation. In the past, the only way to use the sea water was to first put it through the expensive process of desalination, to prevent corroding the electrolyzer. But the new research shows untreated sea water can be used by introducing non-precious catalysts to the process, making it less expensive and more efficient to produce hydrogen, and with the abundance of sea water, this can be a game changer.

Thin air is another source of hydrogen that is getting the attention of the aviation industry. The University of Melbourne is working on technology to extract hydrogen from the humidity in the air using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. This technology involves a combination of catalysts, filters, and other components that separate hydrogen from other elements in the air using a device they call a direct air electrolysis module. This device could be very effective in aviation applications.

Waste plastics are also a rich source of hydrogen, and companies such as Hydrogen Utopia are working on technologies that can extract hydrogen from plastic waste using a process called thermal decomposition. This involves heating plastics in the absence of oxygen to release a syngas, from which pure, export grade hydrogen is extracted, and ready for use in aviation.

HYSKY Society is closely monitoring the progress of these companies and their respective technologies, and believes that they hold significant promise for the future of hydrogen aviation. The society is excited about the potential for these technologies to revolutionize the aviation industry, and is committed to supporting their development and implementation.

In line with its mission, HYSKY Society will be hosting its first annual flagship event, FLYING HY June 21-23, 2023, the world’s largest hydrogen aviation event. The event will bring together experts from the hydrogen industry, aviation industry, and government to discuss the latest developments in hydrogen aviation and explore the opportunities and challenges facing this exciting new sector. FLYING HY will be a virtual event, accessible to participants from around the world.

Author: Drea Hickman


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