Bring back hydrogen lifting gas

Andrew forwarded me another awesome article called “Bring back hydrogen lifting gas” written by Eli Dourado from Utah State University.

I can recommend reading through it as a whole, but I made some notes for myself which I would like to comment on.

1/ Eli thinks that there is market for thousands of airships out there – I strongly agree!

Why does this matter if there are only 25 blimps in service today? Because it is still possible that, under more suitable rules, there is a market for thousands of airships.

Eli Dourado – Bring back hydrogen lifting gas

2/ Eli agrees with me that if all those economics should work out – Hydrogen is the way.

This difference in gross lift is non-trivial for airship performance, but by far the bigger effect of helium on airship economics is cost.

Eli Dourado – Bring back hydrogen lifting gas

3/ Eli also thinks that comeback can be achieved through the cargo service, while thinks that they are slow for human travel. Well, this is where I think that offering a luxurious travel service in a style of a land-style cruise(air)ship actually also has a big potential.

If airships were to make a major comeback, it would be in cargo service. Airships are too slow for human travel, but cargo containers don’t get fatigued on long flights.

Eli Dourado – Bring back hydrogen lifting gas

4/ Finally Eli elaborates on problems with FAA (Airship design approvals from 1995) – being a major obstacle in putting such ideas to life in the US.

But with decades of guidance to the contrary, the FAA has discouraged the return of the airship in the use case that makes the most sense. The only way to get an answer to the hydrogen question is to invest millions of dollars in starting an airship program and engaging the FAA on a certification basis. In turn, investors shy away from regulatory risk, especially when it falls outside their area of expertise.

Eli Dourado – Bring back hydrogen lifting gas

… well, but we are not in the US! We are in Australia and as far as I know there was no Hydrogen airship visiting ever.

Checking CASA’s website there is nothing about this topic, so I wrote them an inquiry through the available form. Unfortunately they don’t forward a copy of an original text so I am providing a receipt which I received afterwards.

Now let’s wait 🙂

Also borrowed from Eli Dourado – Bring back hydrogen lifting gas 😉

Update 30th August 2021

I contacted Eli Dourado over LinkedIn, sort of asking for a permission to quote his article + get back to me with any comments he might have. Eli came back shortly with following:

Eli thinks that the idea of certifying a Hydrogen-lifting-gas airship in a less permissive country like Australia is a good idea.

Thank you Eli!

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