GOLIAT program

Airbus launches hydrogen handling and refueling project at airports

GOLIAT project is supported by several European entities and will demonstrate ground operations with liquid hydrogen at three airports on the continent

Airbus is willing to make hydrogen the sustainable fuel capable of replacing petroleum derivatives in air travel and took another step in that direction this week.

After launching the ZeroE program, which aims to develop commercial aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen, the company presented the GOLIAT (Ground Operations of LIquid hydrogen AircrafT) project, to test handling and supplying the fuel on a small scale.

According to Airbus, the program will receive 10.8 million euros of investment and will last for four years. The idea is to demonstrate the use of high-flow liquid hydrogen through safe aircraft handling and refueling technologies.

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Ten partners from eight countries participate in the GOLIAT consortium, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Hungary.

The trials will be carried out on a small scale at three European airports, including Lyon-Saint Exupéry, which will demonstrate a hydrogen-powered plane by 2027.

The A380 test aircraft with the hydrogen engine
The A380 test aircraft with the hydrogen engine (Airbus)

Airbus considers liquid hydrogen to be the most promising fuel for reducing carbon emissions to zero. According to her, if generated from renewable energy, the gas does not emit CO2.

There are challenges, however, the main one is that hydrogen has a low volumetric energy density, which requires it to be compressed to the extreme and kept at low temperatures.

Due to these characteristics, hydrogen-powered planes will have a different appearance, with long fuselages, necessary to store the fuel in cryogenic tanks, which cannot be installed on the wings, like current aircraft.

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