In a hurry? Need to get from Sydney to Brussels in a dash? Not too far in the future you may be able to travel that entire distance in less than 4 hours – emissions free – thanks to an amazing hypersonic hydrogen jet project called LAPCAT. LAPCAT stands for Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologie, and is funded by the European Space Agency. This type of hypersonic jet would put the Concorde to shame with it’s speed, and the best part is that it would not be powered by the typical fossil fuels, but instead by a much greener hydrogen alternative. Supersonic aviation as a workable model may have ended prematurely with the death of the Concord, but that hasn’t stopped other people from attempting to bring back the concept of hypersonic civil transportation. The LAPCAT project is a study, funded by Europa General R&D, that seeks to determine whether or not it is possible to create a plane that can cover long distances in a very short amount of time. The result? The A2 Mach 5 Civil Transport Concept.
The concept has been developed by Reaction Engines, which was formed by Alan Bond, John Scott-Scott and Richard Varvill. It is made out of two different pieces of technology. The First one is a hydrogen powered engine concept which can power an airplane up to speeds of Mach 5, that is, five times the speed of sound. Why hydrogen? In order to achieve Mach 5, more power is needed than what would be commonly available from the common fossil fuels. The other innovation lies in the A2 Airframe. The Airframe is designed to withstand velocities that are five times the speed of sound, and carry up to 300 passengers. That’s a pretty remarkable feat if it actually manages to do that, and the environmental zero-emissions possibilities are just icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, too good to be true sometime is just that. But this might just be a case where a green dream is pretty close to reality. Needless to say, if this project comes to fruition it will change the concept of air travel forever.