H2 Clipper this month reported progress in its plans to bring a hydrogen-powered airship to market, with the completion of simulated wind tunnel testing using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to assess its design. The California-based start-up has named its proposed air freight vehicle the Pipeline-In-The-Sky and aims to have a full-scale model flying in 2028.
The airship is expected to have a range of 6,000 miles at speeds of 175 mph and a vast cargo volume of 265,000 cubic feet. According to the company, its operating costs will be between 17 and 25 cents per ton-mile, based on payloads of 245 tons over 1,000 miles or 170 tons over 6,000 miles.
Total lifting capacity is expected to be up to 277 tons, with the range-to-payload ratio being driven by the quantity of fuel required for the desired flight distance. H2 Clipper claims that compared with trucks and ships, the airship will be able to move cargo between seven and 10 times faster. Its business model is to provide a more cost-effective and carbon-neutral means for transporting renewable energy to where it is needed.
The simulated wind tunnel testing is part of H2 Clipper’s preparations for building a subscale prototype ready to start flight testing in 2025. Its development timeline has slipped by a year since earlier announcements in September 2021.