Successful flight AeroDelft paves way for liquid hydrogen aviation

News - 07 July 2022

Student team AeroDelft has successfully performed the maiden flight of her prototype aircraft. And for the first time ever, the team taxied and revealed their manned full-scale aircraft which is scheduled to fly on liquid hydrogen by 2025. The students revealed these achievements during their annual ‘AeroDelft Summer-Event’ at Breda International Airport on the 7th of July. AeroDelft’s ambition to accelerate sustainable aviation is thereby truly gaining traction.

The AeroDelft student team, based in Delft, The Netherlands, aims to prove and promote liquid hydrogen as an alternative to conventional aviation fuel with its ‘Project Phoenix’. They plan on achieving this goal by developing two aircraft: a scaled prototype drone and a manned full-scale aircraft. Both aircraft have made significant progress over the last year.

The prototype, a 1:3 scale-model of a highly efficient motorised glider, has a 6 meter wingspan and weighs 40 kilograms. The data gathered from the first battery-powered flight confirms that the drone is capable of flying on liquid hydrogen. This means the aircraft can serve as a test-bed for the hydrogen-technologies the team is developing.


The full-scale aircraft builds on these technologies to perform world’s first manned liquid hydrogen flight. The aircraft, originally a four-seater and converted to a two-seater, has a maximum weight of 920 kilograms. In the coming years, the aircraft will first fly on gaseous hydrogen, before making the transition to a liquid hydrogen powertrain.

Henri Werij, dean of the TU Delft faculty of Aerospace Engineering, praises the team for their efforts: "The AeroDelft team shows the way towards sustainable aviation. A vision, courage, dedication, and full commitment. In my opinion, leading by example".

Liquid hydrogen, in combination with fuel cells, is a promising technology to reduce emissions in aviation to zero by 2050. The Dutch National Growth Fund’s pledge of €383 million for sustainable aviation (vaartindeluchtvaart.nl), of which a large part is earmarked for hydrogen, underlines the potential and relevance of the project. The student team is not financed by the Growth Fund. 

About AeroDelft

AeroDelft is a student team based in Delft, The Netherlands. Motivated  students founded the team in 2018 before starting ‘Project Phoenix’ in 2019 to decarbonize the aviation industry. The team consists of over 50 students from varying educational backgrounds and nationalities. For more information about the team, visit www.AeroDelft.nl or get in contact.

Mediacontact: Gerben Drijfhout: +31 6 53 78 70 88 – gerben.drijfhout@aerodelft.nl

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