This project proposes developing aircraft fuelled by cryogenic bio-LNG, a blend of liquefied natural gas and sustainably produced biomethane.
The transformation to bio-LNG fuel would require extensive ground infrastructure and aircraft system changes, but, based on the current relative prices of Jet A fuel and LNG, preliminary life-cycle cost analysis has shown that a substantial reduction in airline direct operating cost is feasible. The new approach also offers a 20%-97% net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (the extent of the reduction depends on the biomethane-to-LNG blend ratio).
Using concurrent design methods we aim to generate realistic conceptual aircraft design solutions, assuming service introduction before 2020.
A major challenge is defining configurations that permit the efficient storage of relatively low-density bio-LNG to restrict and/or promote boil-off when required. One promising configuration includes the use of in-wing box tanks and underwing fuel tank pods employing a composite-sandwich structure and active drag reduction based on Goldschmied’s scheme (see illustration).
The CLiMA project was selected as a finalist entry in the 2013 Airbus Fly Your Ideas Competition.
For more information, please contact Dr Graham Dorrington.
We are currently working with international partners to define specific research tasks to refine and validate our preliminary design models.