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Reaction Engines brings thermal management technology to Project Fresson to develop hydrogen fuel-cell-powered aircraft

Reaction Engines has joined the Project Fresson consortium (earlier post) led by Cranfield Aerospace (CAeS). Project Fresson aims to accelerate the journey to zero-emissions passenger-carrying aircraft through using hydrogen fuel cell technology and Reaction Engines has been selected to provide its thermal management technology (earlier post) for fuel cell cooling.

With Reaction Engines’ expertise gained through developing novel thermal management technology on the SABRE (Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine) program and for applications in the motorsport, energy, and aerospace industries, the company is well-placed to develop an innovative solution and act as a key enabler of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Reaction Engines bring to Fresson their world-leading thermal management technology, which is critical to our hydrogen propulsion development; in return, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Project Fresson provide a credible and quick route to flight demonstration and certification of this exciting technology.

—Rob Marsh, Project Fresson Chief Engineer

Project Fresson is a UK-funded project via the Aerospace Technology Institute to integrate hydrogen fuel cell technology into a 9-seat Britten Norman Islander. Reaction Engines will develop a bespoke ultra-low drag heat rejection system to deliver the project’s fuel cell cooling requirements.

Reaction Engines joins a number of British companies in the consortium, including Ricardo, Britten-Norman and Innovatus Technologies who will work together to accelerate hydrogen fuel cell technology and prove its operational and commercial viability.

Project Fresson marks the latest initiative in a series of sustainable technology projects in which Reaction Engines is involved. Last year it launched HXLIFE Foils, an isothermal battery cooling system for electric vehicles that extends range and battery life as well as significantly reducing charging times.

The company has also developed a waste heat recovery heat exchanger for Brunel University using Supercritical CO2 as the working fluid to significantly reduce carbon emissions in industrial processes.

Reaction Engines has been at the forefront of engineering innovation for more than 30 years, principally developing SABRE, a new class of aerospace propulsion. The company is supported by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency and the US team is working with DARPA, US Air Force and leading industry partners. In addition to private capital funding, in recent years Reaction Engines has received investment from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Boeing HorizonX.


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