The Potential of Liquid Hydrogen as a Military Aircraft Fuel.

by William T. Mikolowsky, Larry W. Noggle


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback13 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

As domestic petroleum supplies diminish and prices escalate, the U.S. Air Force will need to consider relying on primary energy resources other than petroleum for its aviation fuel. The authors' recent studies have examined various candidate synthetic fuels and the types of vehicles in which they might be employed. In this paper, those results are emphasized which highlight the possible use of liquid hydrogen as a fuel for very large airplanes (maximum gross weights in excess of one million pounds). Comparisons are provided of life-cycle costs and life-cycle energy consumption for both synthetic jet fuel and liquid hydrogen fueled airplanes. Both fuels are assumed to be synthesized from coal. In addition, the cost-effectiveness and energy-effectiveness of the two alternatives are presented for a variety of mission applications. Results suggest that synthetic jet fuel derived from coal is more attractive than liquid hydrogen as a military aircraft fuel. 13 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.