We like being first.

Project Phoenix is the first of its kind.

It is the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft (more specifically, a motor glider), and the first of its category to have a range of 2000km. This incredible innovation allows the pilot to fly all around Europe on one tank of hydrogen: safely, quietly and without carbon emissions.

Although our aircraft is small, our ambition is not.

Hello sustainability.

Since the first flight of a powered aircraft around 120 years ago, the aviation industry has boomed. Currently, 2.4 billion passengers fly around the world annually. But this has come at a cost…

With increasing CO2 emissions, rising average temperatures, and rising sea levels, every industry is responsible, in one way or another, for climate change. And the aviation industry is no exception; with over 2% of total annual emissions, commercial aviation is one of the highest producers of CO2 in the transportation sector.

With the 2020 implementation of ICAO’s CORSIA agreement, the aviation sector must start looking for a different approach to continue its activity, all while reducing its emissions. Weight is a crucial factor for aviation. Batteries especially are known for their low energy density, often making them too heavy for aircraft applications. Fuel cells themselves are not particularly heavy, but current, gaseous storage solutions are. These tanks have the added disadvantage of being bulky, which could limit potential cargo or passenger capacity.

We believe the solution to this issue is to use liquid rather than gaseous hydrogen. This form of storage requires only well-insulated rather than heavy, high-pressure tanks. With liquid hydrogen, we also avoid the emissions resulted from burning gaseous hydrogen, and we obtain the same energy density as gaseous hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar.

With 1kg of liquid hydrogen, we are able to fly an average flight time of 2-3 hours, and with 20kg, we will be able to fly for 2000km with our full-scale aircraft. This is why we are starting to work internationally in organisations such as EUROCAE with energy providers and leading transportation companies to develop certification guidelines for hydrogen fuel cells. These fuel cells could also be used in buses, ships, and other conventional means of transportation.

Hello efficiency.

Since the very beginning of aviation, there has been a constant strive for maximum efficiency. The aerodynamic design of aircraft has become more and more optimised but improvements increasingly minor. It’s time for something more radical.

This is why we are pioneering the use of Boundary Layer Suction: a form of active flow control over the wings that allow us to retard flow separation, and reduce overall skin friction.

The aim of boundary layer suction is to reduce drag by maintaining an attached and laminar boundary layer across almost the entire upper surface of the wing. This is done using a perforated outer skin with holes of 0.1mm diameter spaced every 1mm. The low energy boundary layer is sucked through these holes, keeping it laminar, then ejected into the wake of the aircraft using a centrifugal pump. The amount of suction required and thus the efficiency of the system depends on the airspeed. At cruise speed, we expect to see a reduction of drag of almost 50% over the wing (10-15% drag reduction of the overall aircraft), and thus equivalent fuel consumption of 10%, although the theoretical limit is much higher.

Our prototype will be perforated with 500,000 holes, whilst our full-scale aircraft will have a whopping 14 million holes.

Hello you.

As a non-profit organisation (Stichting), AeroDelft is dependent on companies willing to support the team, either financially or by providing materials and resources. Are you interested in sponsoring, investing or otherwise helping the team? Then please do not hesitate to contact our Acquisitions Manager, Marcos Cabanas. We would be delighted to discuss sponsorship and investment opportunities with you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Let's make the future sustainable.