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Filton Systems Engineering and Fabrum support GKN Aerospace on liquid hydrogen fuel systems for aviation

New Zealand-based Fabrum, a leader in zero-emissions transition and fluid systems engineering company Filton Systems Engineering (FSE) have joined forces with GKN Aerospace to help shift aviation towards hydrogen flight with end-to-end hydrogen fuel system technology.

GKN Aerospace is the world’s leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier; with 38 manufacturing locations in 12 countries, it serves more than 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers. This collaboration leverages FSE’s aerospace capability in fuel systems and designing fuel, air, hydraulic, inerting and engine systems, and Fabrum’s cryogenic and fuel tank storage technology and expertise in hydrogen fuel systems.

The announcement coincides with FSE’s upgrade to its existing hot and cold fuel test facility to now offer both gaseous and liquid hydrogen in a world-first commercial test environment in Bristol, which has become a focal point globally for hydrogen flight activity.

These test facilities enable aerospace companies to produce and test liquid hydrogen as a fuel for hydrogen test flights, with FSE providing further support towards certification for flight status.

Fabrum developed the ground-based end-to-end liquid hydrogen production solution for the test facility, including hydrogen conditioning, liquefaction and liquid hydrogen storage. Further upgrades are planned, including combining Fabrum’s cryogenic technologies with a membrane-free electrolyser to remove dependence on gaseous hydrogen supply.

At the FSE test facility, a ground-based demonstrator of a 2.4 kW liquid hydrogen system has been jointly designed with GKN Aerospace, and built by FSE, under the Innovate UK-funded Safe Flight project. This end-to-end system demonstrates the feasibility of liquid hydrogen as an aircraft fuel source and addresses many of the safety concerns raised by the introduction of such a novel fuel.

The project has developed storage and dispensing technologies, optimized purging systems, and integrated fuel tank design with distribution on aircraft (including vaporization and conditioning) through to supplying a fuel cell with gaseous hydrogen at the required temperature and pressure over a range of electrical loads representative of a typical flight.

Formerly known as Fabrum Solutions, Fabrum company recently merged with AFCryo, a world leader in cryocoolers and liquefiers, to provide end-to-end mission-critical solutions, including hydrogen fuel solutions for heavy transport, marine and aviation.



Whoah! My home town!

Although respected commentators such as Gryf have severe reservations about the practicality of hydrogen flight, in particular storage of liquid hydrogen, it sure would be nice if it does work practically, and my view is that players like Airbus and GKN, who after all know a thing or two about engineering, reckon that they have a good chance of making it work.

Theoretically gives way higher range etc than SAF, but we will have to wait and see if they can pull it off.

It reminds me a bit of Concorde, where Bristol was also heavily involved in development, but with much higher stakes as this is 'go cleaner' not 'go faster'

I wonder if I will still be around to see the first commercial flights of hydrogen aircraft, as I saw both the start and the end of Concorde?

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