The Potential of Liquid Hydrogen as a Military Aircraft Fuel.

by William T. Mikolowsky, Larry W. Noggle

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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.

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