A trio of aerospace manufacturers are to collaborate on the development of a liquid hydrogen fuel system for future zero-emission aircraft applications.

Covered by a memorandum of understanding, the agreement will see GKN Aerospace, Marshall Aerospace and Parker Aerospace working together to deliver the fuel system.

H2GEAR-c-GKN Aerospace

Source: GKN Aerospace

It will be capable of supporting applications using either hydrogen-electric fuel cells or hydrogen combustion, the partners state.

GKN is already working on a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain under a UK government-backed project called H2GEAR.

While this will culminate with ground tests of a 1MW-class system in 2025, GKN sees the architecture as able to scale up to power a regional aircraft with at least 100 seats. “Scalability of the system for larger narrowbody aircraft is currently being studied,” it adds.

At the recent Paris air show, the manufacturer signed a pact to work with Embraer that envisions flight testing of the system in the 2028-2029 period.

GKN says its “intent” is to bring the “complete scalable fuel system and propulsion system together in a single flight-testbed environment before the end of the decade”.

Russ Dunn, chief technology officer at GKN Aerospace says: “With this [latest] agreement, we have now set out a complete path to achieving zero-emission flight at a game-changing scale.

“By working alongside Marshall and Parker, who have deep expertise in fuel systems, we can accelerate the development of the technology building blocks required for a complete hydrogen propulsion system for mid-range aircraft.”