Monday, April 7, 2008

Hydrogen-powered plane takes off

This is an article from the BBC about the first manned flight testing of a hydrogen-powered plane. It is a development of Boeing and is unique in that it is the first manned plane to be powered on hydrogen.

The plane did multiple test flights of around 22 minutes (half the air time possible) and used batteries for take off.

I'm definitely on Webber's side of the hydrogen issue - it is not a realistic solution to any parts of our energy problem, especially not transportation. The Boeing people even say in the article that they don't see hydrogen fuel cells as "the primary power source for large passenger aircraft".

What is the point really? I guess it just seems to someone on the outside that the research dollars for that venture are desperately needed in areas that could help our energy problem so much more.

The article points out that solar or hydrogen power planes could be useful in military, earth observation, or communications applications. These are sort of worthwhile uses, but I wish that someone with Boeing's resources - both monetary and intellectual - would dedicate themselves to solving the energy problem. I understand that the energy problem is not the main focus for Boeing, obviously they are an aerospace technology company. But, it would be great to see some of the main industrial players join the researchers for some practical solutions to our energy issues, especially transportation.

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