Hydrogen Hypersonic Airliner


A Mach-5 (3,400mph) plane from Reaction Engines A2, carries 300 passengers, fly twice as fast and at the same time be greener for the skies. Funded in part by the European Union’s Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies project (Lapcat), the airliner is desired to fly from Brussels to Sydney in less than four hours without producing a trace of harmful carbon emissions.

The A2 engine uses two modes, a combination of turbojet and ramjet propulsion systems, make the A2 efficient at slower speeds while giving it great speed capabilities. In the first mode, four Scimitar engines send incoming air through bypass ducts to turbines which produce thrust comparable to conventional jet engines and get the jet into the air to Mach 2.5. After it reaches Mach 2.5, the A2 switches into the second mode and incoming air is rerouted to the engine’s core. The air gets pushed through the engine with enough pressure to sustain combustion speeds of up to Mach 5.

It’s carbon footprint stands to be the biggest asset to the hydrogen-powered jet. It only produces water vapor and just a bit of nitrous oxide as exhaust. A hypersonic jet loaded with liquid hydrogen sounds a bit dangerous, but hydrogen fuel is no more explosive than normal jet fuel.

The biggest challenge they face is manufacturing hydrogen fuel on a large scale without emitting carbon in the process. Reaction Engines’s technical director, Richard Varvill, is hesitant to market it as a truly green machine till carbon-free production of hydrogen is reached.



5 Responses to “Hydrogen Hypersonic Airliner”

  1. Hydrogen can be made on demand from Aluminum and water without the use of caustic soda. You make hydrogen at home easily, cheaply and safely by following these steps:

  2. Hydrogen can be made on demand from Aluminum and water without the use of caustic soda. You make hydrogen at home easily, cheaply and safely by following these steps:


  3. Ref: making H2 from Alum & caustic soda - you ever reference why aluminum mfg’g plants are always located so close to BIGGG electrical power plants??!! (ALCOA’s first one, if I recall correctly, was placed within a few miles of Niagra Falls’ turbines). Its because the current process of refining aluminum, (previously done chemically, and known of for hundreds of years), requires so much electricity that it wasn’t even remotely practical until big E was commonly - and cheaply - available. Prior to the more recently developed electrical process, aluminum cost more than gold! Even the little 100 oz. pyramidal aluminum cap on the Washington monument cost as much as the price of silver (lb. per lb.) at the time of it’s casting! Aluminum is one of the least ‘green’ metals refined by man. Making aluminum to use to produce H2 would not only be hideously carbon intensive (as aluminum production currently IS), but, also a prohibitively expensive way to do it; due to those exorbitant electrical requirements to support the modern refinement methodology!! To even think of supporting the thirst of a fleet of aircraft, such as the jet above described, in this manner would doom the project from the very start! Did you not read above that the company is seeking ‘green’ sources of H2 to make the thing even marketable? Think those guys aren’t looking into every way to make cheap H2 they can possibly find? Ever wonder why we aren’t driving H2 cars, yet? Its NOT because the technology isn’t there and practical - its because no one has yet to come up with a CHEAP, GREEN way to produce H2!

  4. There exists … a green painted nuclear power plant. If you are skeptical.

    It puts our practically no emissions, the waste products although pretty dangerous are ridiculously low.

    (a nuclear sub runs on one refueling every 15 years and that is old old technology)


  5. A nuclear power station is built with concrete and steel and these are very energy inefficient to produce, deliver, demolish and dispose of, not to mention the storage of waste (building and nuclear waste) for thousands of years to come. It can hardly be called low emission electricity, short sighted perhaps but not low.

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>