Abstract

Hydrogen has been identified as a key fuel to enable decarbonization of fundamentally challenging industrial sectors such as the aviation industry. However, the poor volumetric energy density of this element imposes severe challenges on in-flight energy storage when it is directly employed as a fuel. This becomes particularly relevant for high payload, middle-to-long range missions, typical of regional and long-haul markets, where the combination of fuel burned plus reserves represents a large fraction of the total aircraft weight. While storing hydrogen as a high-pressure gas (GH2) is an option, liquid hydrogen (LH2) is a more likely storage solution to be adopted by the aviation industry for these aircraft classes, despite the additional fuel conditioning complexity introduced.

Consequently, having the ability of modeling the whole hydrogen fuel delivery system within the preliminary gas turbine cycle design environment becomes essential. This allows to assess the cycle-level impact imposed by the fuel delivery pressure and temperature requirements at the combustor interface, explore the onboard heat sink potential offered by cryogenic LH2, and better support the future product definition. In Part 1, this paper covers fundamental aspects of hydrogen cycle simulations by discussing the implementation of a preliminary engine design tool, developed in NPSS (Numerical Propulsion System Simulation), which includes the ability to simulate hydrogen fuel properties from its liquid storage state to the engine combustor. Part 2 will explore the application of this model to support the performance evaluation of more advanced hydrogen cycles, only briefly introduced here.

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