Current designs for airships have numerous problems, including that they rely on helium, they’re expensive to build, are vulnerable due to their over-pressured skins and require expensive hangars to park them in. Standaert’s design for the Aeromodeller II would eliminate many of these problems. The zeppelin’s shape is modified to be longer and skinnier to reduce the need for pressurized skins. Lower cost materials, like light thermoplastic foil could be used instead of a woven skin material. The Aeromodeller II is also designed so it never needs to land, which eliminates the need for expensive hangars.
The zeppelin would move via hydrogen, which would be generated on board, so it never needs to stop at a refueling station. Using ground anchors, the airship’s propellers would switch gears to become turbines, harnessing the power of the wind to generate hydrogen. In this way, the zeppelin could remain aloft indefinitely by resupplying hydrogen whenever it needs to.
More like a sail boat than a power boat, the Aeromodeller II isn’t designed for speed and would probably only achieve about 80 km/h (50mph). This low speed transportation though would be completely zero-emissions and rely completely on renewable energy. Standaert is currently showing a model of his design in Antwerp, Belgium, until the end of February (find out more here).