Picture this: You’re in London, but you need to be in New York in just a few hours. Would you believe me if I told you that soon enough, you could travel from London to New York in just 90 minutes? It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but with the development of a hypersonic hydrogen jet, this could become a reality much sooner than we think. In this blog post, we’ll explore what this jet is, how it works, and what impact it could have on the future of travel. So buckle up and get ready for a wild ride!
Introduction of the hypersonic hydrogen jet
Introducing the hypersonic hydrogen jet, an innovative aircraft developed by Swiss startup Destinus that aims to revolutionize air travel. Capable of travelling at Mach 5 and above, this aircraft could transport passengers from London to New York in just 90 minutes, and from Europe to Australia in four hours. To achieve such incredible speeds, the aircraft will travel at altitudes of over 50km, at the upper edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, where drag is significantly lower. The hypersonic aircraft will use hydrogen-fuelled air-breathing turbojet engines for takeoff and landing, with a separate ramjet rocket engine to take it to hypersonic speeds. Developed by Russian-born physicist and serial entrepreneur Mikhail Kokorich, this jet is essentially half rocket, half plane. Destinus claims that the jet will be net zero carbon, only emitting heat and water vapor. The company has been testing its prototype aircraft for the past couple of years, and while hydrogen-powered aircraft are still in their infancy, VCs are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into hypersonic startups. With grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Destinus aims to develop hydrogen-based solutions for aeronautical mobility. While there are still technical hurdles to overcome, this hypersonic hydrogen jet could change the face of air travel in the not-too-distant future.
Swiss startup Destinus and its founder Mikhail Kokorich
Swiss startup Destinus is making waves in the aviation industry with its hypersonic hydrogen-powered jet. The company was founded by Russian physicist and serial entrepreneur Mikhail Kokorich, who has a track record of successful ventures. Kokorich developed Destinus to advance hydrogen-powered aircraft that can travel at Mach 5 and above. With ambitions to make transatlantic travel a thing of the past, the jet would be capable of flying from London to New York in just 90 minutes. The aircraft would travel at altitudes of over 50km, reducing drag and cutting the time it takes to cross a continent dramatically. The innovative technology includes hydrogen-fuelled air-breathing turbojet engines for takeoff and landing with a separate ramjet rocket engine to propel it to hypersonic speeds. Destinus’ first aircraft will be ready by 2030 and capable of carrying 25 passengers up to 7500 km. Follow-on models will be progressively larger, seating up to 100 passengers and beyond. With this groundbreaking concept, Destinus is a company to watch in the race to revolutionize the aviation industry.
Mach 5+ speed and altitudes of over 50km
The hypersonic hydrogen jet developed by Swiss startup Destinus could travel at Mach 5 or more, reaching speeds over 6000 kph, which is five times the speed of sound. To achieve such speeds, the aircraft would need to fly at altitudes over 50km, at the upper edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, where drag is significantly reduced. To get to hypersonic speeds, the jet would use hydrogen-fueled air-breathing turbojet engines for takeoff and landing, with a separate ramjet rocket engine. This prototype aircraft would emit no carbon, only heat, and water vapor, as it would be powered by hydrogen fuel. This would make it a more environmentally friendly option than regular passenger jets. The hypersonic hydrogen jet could also significantly reduce travel time for long-haul flights. For instance, it could fly from London to New York in just 90 minutes. Although hypersonic travel is still in its infancy, it is gaining interest from investors and airlines. However, it also requires significant technical and infrastructural advancements, making it a long-term future goal.
Hydrogen-fuelled engines and net zero carbon emissions
Hydrogen-fuelled engines and net zero carbon emissions are a key feature of Swiss startup Destinus’ hypersonic jet. The aircraft, which travels at Mach 5 and above, uses hydrogen-fuelled air-breathing turbojet engines for takeoff and landing, with a separate ramjet rocket engine to take it to hypersonic speeds. It is claimed that the jet would be net zero carbon, only emitting heat and water vapour. This feature is significant as the aviation industry is amongst the largest carbon emitters and is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. The hypersonic aircraft would travel at altitudes of over 50km, where drag is significantly lower, enabling it to reach unprecedented speeds and drastically reduce flight time. While hydrogen-powered aircraft are still in their infancy and require significant infrastructure investment, the potential impacts on reducing carbon emissions are enormous. Overall, the development of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft, together with the ongoing research into liquid hydrogen-powered propulsion systems, will play a significant role in advancing aeronautical mobility whilst reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.
Destinus’ first aircraft capable of carrying 25 passengers
Destinus, a Swiss startup founded by Russian-born physicist and entrepreneur Mikhail Kokorich, aims to revolutionize air travel with its hypersonic hydrogen-powered aircraft capable of carrying 25 passengers. The prototype aircraft, which can travel at Mach 5 speeds, is expected to be ready by the end of this decade. The aircraft will use hydrogen-fuelled air-breathing turbojet engines for takeoff and landing, while a separate ramjet rocket engine will propel it to hypersonic speeds. The aircraft will travel at altitudes of over 50km at the upper edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, significantly reducing drag. The company claims that the aircraft will emit only heat and water vapour, making it a net-zero carbon emission aircraft. The Spanish Ministry of Science has awarded Destinus two grants worth €27m to fund the development of a hydrogen engine test facility and research into liquid hydrogen-powered propulsion systems. While the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft is still in its infancy and has been plagued by issues such as storage and cost, Destinus remains confident of its success. The company plans to build progressively larger aircraft capable of carrying more than 100 passengers and to open new flight paths for cargo and passenger transportation anywhere on Earth.
Grants worth €12m and €15m from the Spanish Ministry of Science
Destinus, a Swiss startup, has been awarded two grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science worth €12m and €15m. The grants have been allocated to advance research in hydrogen-powered aviation and will be used to fund the company’s development of a hydrogen engine test facility near Madrid and research into liquid hydrogen-powered propulsion systems, respectively. Davide Bonetti, the VP of Business Development and Products for Destinus, expressed excitement over the grants and stated that access to EU recovery funds is essential for advanced research and to accelerate the innovation needed to be competitive on a global scale. The project is part of Spain’s push to lead the development and production of hydrogen-based mobility across different sectors. The hypersonic aircraft being developed by Destinus could travel at over 6000 kph, taking passengers from Frankfurt to Sydney in just over four hours and from London to New York in 90 minutes. While challenges remain, such as storing hydrogen and building hydrogen infrastructure, investors remain optimistic about the potential of hypersonic travel and are investing heavily in the sector.
Issues with hydrogen-based aircraft, including storage and cost
While the idea of a hypersonic hydrogen jet that can travel from London to New York in just 90 minutes is exciting, there are still some issues that need to be addressed with hydrogen-based aircraft. One of the main concerns is storage, as liquid hydrogen is four times lighter than jet fuel, meaning it requires four times the storage capacity on board and big fuel tanks to match. This presents a challenge for aircraft designers to ensure that the necessary storage space is available while also maintaining the aerodynamics of the aircraft. Additionally, the cost of liquid hydrogen is currently 20 times more expensive than jet fuel, making hydrogen-based aircraft significantly more expensive to operate than traditional planes. While this cost is expected to decrease in the coming years, it remains a significant barrier to widespread adoption. International airports will also need to build new hydrogen infrastructure to accommodate these new aircraft, an investment that may not be feasible without guaranteed returns. While these challenges are significant, progress is being made in the field, and developers like Destinus are working hard to overcome these obstacles. As technology continues to advance, it seems likely that we will see more hydrogen-based aircraft in the skies in the coming years.
Challenges of taking aircraft to hypersonic speeds
Taking aircraft to hypersonic speeds poses significant challenges for the aviation industry. While hypersonic travel has been achieved through test flights, such as NASA’s in 2004, making it commercially viable is still a long way off. The most significant challenge is building a plane capable of withstanding the extreme heat generated at such high speeds. Physicists are still trying to understand how to create airplanes that can tolerate these temperatures. Additionally, developing the necessary technology to reach these speeds is still a major hurdle. For example, building an aircraft capable of Mach 5 speeds presents complex engineering challenges, requiring high-tech propulsion systems and aerodynamic designs. Implementing hydrogen fuel systems adds further complexity, as liquid hydrogen is four times lighter than jet fuel and requires much larger fuel tanks to match. Furthermore, international airports will need to build hydrogen infrastructure from scratch to accommodate the new aircraft, an effort they are unlikely to undertake without guaranteed returns. Although such challenges exist, investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into hypersonic startups. While it may take some time to overcome these challenges, the technology’s potential to reduce travel time significantly has pushed researchers to look for a breakthrough.
Investors and airlines’ interest in hypersonic startups
Despite challenges in developing hypersonic aircraft, investors and airlines remain interested in startups that are working on them. Venture capitalists have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in hypersonic startups, including Swiss startup Destinus, which is developing a prototype hydrogen-powered hypersonic jet capable of traveling at Mach 5 and above. American Airlines has also committed to purchasing 20 Overture Jets, developed by US startup Boom Supersonic, which can fly from New York to London in just 3.5 hours. The interest in hypersonic flight is driven by the potential for significant reductions in travel time. Destinus claims that its jet could fly from London to New York in 90 minutes and from Frankfurt to Sydney in just over four hours. However, while hypersonic flight has been achieved in test flights, commercially viable hypersonic travel is still a long way off. Nevertheless, hypersonic technology is seen as a key area of innovation for the aviation industry, and investors and airlines are keen to support startups working on it.
Research and development into hydrogen-powered propulsion and cooling agents
Hydrogen power has caught the attention of researchers and developers for its environmentally-friendly implications. It burns cleanly with only heat and water as by-products, potentially cutting carbon emissions from the aviation industry. However, there are technical challenges that must be overcome to make hydrogen-powered aviation commercially viable. For one, storing liquid hydrogen requires on-board fuel tanks that are four times larger than those needed for jet fuel. Moreover, the prices of hydrogen are currently 20 times more expensive than jet fuel. A solution to hydrogen-powered flight is developing the technology for hypersonic planes that travel at altitudes of over 50km, where drag is significantly lower. To generate enough thrust, these planes must have specially designed engines for takeoff and landing, and for hypersonic flight. Researchers at the RMIT University in Melbourne have recently reported significant strides in 3D-printed catalysts for hypersonic flights that can also act as a cooling agent to combat the extreme heat generated by such speeds. However, commercial flights with such hypersonic planes are still a long way off.