Zeppelin Back To Life? Start-Up ‘H2 Clipper’ Green Dirigible Boasts 170-Ton Payload, 7500 M3 Cargo Space

From the NoTricksZone

By P Gosselin on 2. April 2022

Green hydrogen powered dirigible could revolutionize long haul cargo transport worldwide.

More than 80 years ago, the Hindenburg Zeppelin LZ 129 exploded and crashed as it approached landing at Lakehurst New Jersey on May 6, 1937.

The behemoth 250-meter long vessel rigid airship had been in service for just under a year. At the time, numerous such vessels had been produced and employed with relative commercial success between the 1900s and the late 1930s. But the dramatic, fiery explosion of the Hindenburg spelled the end of dirigibles as a mode of transport.

Green resurrection 

That may be about to change. In the latest video, Die kalte Sonne’s Energieschau features California start-up H2 Clipper, which wants to bring the dirigible back to life with “a 100% green 20th century version of the hydrogen dirigible”.

According to the company’s promotional video, the new vessel uses “green hydrogen” for propulsion and with it the company hopes to transform air freight and shipping worldwide.

Using liquid hydrogen and fuel cell technology, the H2 Clipper is claimed to “operate efficiently at service ranges from under 500 to well over 6,000 miles” and travel at 175 mph. It would be able to “deliver goods directly from a factory in China to a distribution center in the U.S. in less than 36 hours.”

 The H2 Clipper also boasts a massive cargo volume capacity of over 265,000 cubic feet (7,500 cubic meters), which is “8 to 10 times more cargo space than any other air freighter”.

Air freight cost less than a quarter of traditional 

The cargo transport cost: between $0.177 to $0.247 per ton, which is “less than one-quarter the cost of traditional air freighters”. Moreover, using today’s modern navigation technology, it could transport unmanned.

According to H2 Clipper’s site:

By using modern fuel cell technology, fresh water is the H2 Clipper’s only operating by-product. It is not only 7X to 10X faster than a ship and 4X less costly than an air freighter, but also the only climate pledge friendly alternative for long-haul transport.”

Sounds highly promising and thus may be a great example of an effective and even impressive way to put green energies to use.

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Tom Halla
April 4, 2022 6:08 am

They will, of course, not use nitrocellulose dope with aluminum powder and iron oxide pigment.Hydrogen fires are colorless, it was the smokeless powder and thermite fabric stiffener that was burning.

Charles Higley(@higley7)
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 4, 2022 7:56 am

Of course they are ignoring that hydrogen has to be generated and is the fuel as well as the lifting gas. All of this is not cheap. Costs HAVE to be considered from cradle to grave, just as it has to be done for wind and solar, and also ethanol for gasoline corruption.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 4, 2022 9:32 am

No, no, no – it’s way cool. Way think about costs?

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 5, 2022 8:30 am

Jim, how many times have we shelved these concepts?
Didn’t we work a proposal for Mars exploration that involved a floating instrumentation platform?

wigimo
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 4, 2022 9:35 am

They also wanted to be able to deliver to rural areas where ground anchors weren’t installed (military). It would take a pretty robust anchoring system to hold down a 250M long balloon with hundreds of thousands of pounds of buoyancy. Plus you need to be able to add weight if you are running it at say half load

AndyHce
Reply to  wigimo
April 4, 2022 11:37 am

Amazon is using copter like drones to deliver freight. Of course their freight isn’t measured in hundreds or thousands of tons.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  AndyHce
April 4, 2022 12:56 pm

. . . and, trust me on this, the H2 Clipper dirigible will never be able to carry “hundreds of thousands of tons” in a single shipment.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 4, 2022 1:41 pm

Back of the envelope calculation – to be the approximate equivalent of the Boeing 777-300 series (most used long distance air freighter), it has to be able to carry a bit more than 76 metric tons.

That’s just comparing cruising speeds – the airplane has made more than three trips while the dirigible has made just one. There would also be three turnaround cycles for the dirigible, too. (Far more than that. Just “landing” one takes much more time than landing a jet plane – I spent a couple of hours watching the Goodyear blimp “land” some years ago.)

Also, like EVs – where’s the infrastructure? There absolutely is none right now for handling cargo dirigibles. How much to convert an airport to a dirigible port? Assuming you can, which is unlikely – moving people will still require planes, and the two types won’t mix at all well in the same crowded airspace.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  writing observer
April 5, 2022 8:39 am

Significant separation must be maintained. Look at LAX and Carson.
Same reason we don’t have bus stops combined with race car pit stops.

TallDave
Reply to  writing observer
April 5, 2022 8:54 am

yep, this is exactly why we stopped making them

not fast enough to compete with planes, too expensive to compete with land/sea

also, if you want bulk cargo, you need a whole cargo terminal like a dock, with cranes for shipping containers and etc

and lifting capacity is hard-limited by the available lifting surface area

and if you think the Hindenburg was a disaster, just imagine a floating cargo ship in high winds knocking over skyscrapers like tinker-toys

Last edited 1 month ago by TallDave
Reply to  wigimo
April 5, 2022 5:01 am

You can operate the dirigible like a sub. Suck out hydrogen and replace with natural air to change the buoyancy characteristics. Not dissimilar to a hot air balloon releasing hot gasses (replaced by cooler air) to drop altitude. Make the interior a number of chambers and you can control the lift ratio. Is it practical? That’s a different question. I assume the bean-counters have concluded that it’s doable.

Reply to  kcrucible
April 5, 2022 5:03 am

And by “suck out” I mean recompress and push back into the tank. Though I suppose they could release it too if it’s the end of the trip to consider it “fuel”

Rocketscientist
Reply to  kcrucible
April 5, 2022 8:24 am

The devices you mention are called ballonets.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballonet
They do have limitations as they are not passive devices.
Dynamic buoyancy whether in liquid or gas is a metastable condition in that you must be constantly adjusting your density to attempt to maintain “neutral buoyancy”. Any scuba diver will know this. The Scuba Diver’s ballonets are called BCDs (buoyancy compensating devices). If you are poorly trained you will eat up your available air supply quickly.
The exact same system is deployed on any navigable LTA and on many high altitude long duration balloons.
It’s considered bad form to be venting primary lifting gas to adjust altitude. Lets not suck out any hydrogen. That was the primary advantage of rigid shelled dirigibles, they could maintain aerodynamic shape by using internal bladders to hold the hydrogen and segregate it from the ballonet chambers. But, these have their weight penalties.

Martin Pinder
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 4, 2022 12:40 pm

I hope they’re not using hydrogen as the lifting gas.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Martin Pinder
April 4, 2022 2:01 pm

From the H2Clipper website…
Quote:”The H2 Clipper utilizes 100% green hydrogen both as a lifting gas and as fuel.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 4, 2022 5:22 pm

Well you see, green hydrogen is comprised of 100% organic unicorn farts, therefore it is generated magically and is impervious to lightning.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 4, 2022 7:09 pm

Green Hydrogen is like green wood – it doesn’t burn as easily.

So it is safe.

That’s how hydrogen works, right? 🙂

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 5, 2022 4:24 am

“as a lifting gas”

That doesn’t sound good.

Oh, the humanity!

Paul Milenkovic
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 4, 2022 12:44 pm

The Hindenburg, whether from ignition of leaking H2 gas or the flammability of the “dope” covering the fabric, is the least of the problems with airships.

The US Navy had a small fleet of rigid airships using helium lifting gas and lost all but one to weather-related accidents.

hiskorr
Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
April 4, 2022 7:44 pm

Not to worry. When we eliminate “climate change”, our ideal climate will have no “weather related accidents”.

rbabcock
April 4, 2022 6:12 am

My good friend was president of Cargo Lifter, a German endeavor based in Raleigh, quite a few years ago. It was going to build these but went belly up. One of the reasons was the Germans couldn’t decide anything and everything just took too long to do. The money just ran out. My friend was exasperated.

One of the biggest issues is loading and unloading. For every ton you take off as you unload it, you have to replace it with a ton of something else (generally water) or it will go rise up like any balloon would. It does make sense, especially for the military which was one of their primary markets.

Duane
Reply to  rbabcock
April 4, 2022 6:19 am

The loading and unloading is not really a significant problem – just anchor the airship securely to ground anchors or towers, load and unload all you like, and then release the anchors when you’re ready to fly. It’s just like loading a ship or an aircraft, except that gravity works in reverse with lighter than air design.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 7:48 am

‘cept ships don’t sink as you unload ’em. The ship analogy would be more accurate if you had to unload them in dry docks.

Duane
Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 4, 2022 10:00 am

Ships do move upwards as they are unloaded. Look up “plimsoll line”. They still have to be tied to the pier, or at the minimum to the bottom with an anchor or buoy to be loaded or unloaded.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Duane
April 5, 2022 6:48 am

Duane, neither making fast to a pier or anchoring have any control over the verticle movement of the ship. However, both have to allow for the estimated rise and fall of the ship and normally must be monitored so that the lines may be adjusted if necessary.

rbabcock
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 8:02 am

In theory yes, but that really never worked according to my friend. The added strengthening to accommodate anchors resulted in a pretty hefty weight penalty. The best solution was to balance weight in vs weight out.

They also wanted to be able to deliver to rural areas where ground anchors weren’t installed (military). It would take a pretty robust anchoring system to hold down a 250M long balloon with hundreds of thousands of pounds of buoyancy. Plus you need to be able to add weight if you are running it at say half load.

They also looked at recompressing the gas to reduce buoyancy. But who knows, they never even got a functioning scale model built so the best, final design was never known.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  rbabcock
April 4, 2022 10:22 am

I was told the key to understanding aircraft design is that in
building them lighter you were making them stronger which is
why they went to aluminum & composites. As such, you
wouldn’t want any extra weight. Is that true for aircraft as well
as blimps?

Felix
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 8:37 am

Lots of practical problems. Returning empty, or flying empty to pick up cargo, requires significant ballast to avoid flying too high. Needing to anchor prevents one of a dirigible’s prime features, being able to lower straight down to a random location out in the middle of nowhere with no reasonable anchors.

Duane
Reply to  Felix
April 4, 2022 10:03 am

It’s not a practical problem that isn’t already faced by ships, who also need to take on ballast (typically water ballast) to retain stability when unloaded.

Dirigibles never need to “be(ing) able to lower straight down to a random location out in the middle of nowhere with no reasonable anchors”, any more than a cargo aircraft of ship would need to, or ever actually do such a thing. Dirigibles have always utilized ground facilities, including ground anchors, hangars, and such. Where on earth did you come up with that one?

Felix
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 3:31 pm

You propose that airships bring a big excavator arm to load up dirt while unloading cargo? It’s a poor analogy with ships and ballast water.

Many proposals for airships tout their ability to deliver and pick up cargo at remote locations because of the vertical lift capability.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 9:25 am

if you fly it in to anchor it then its buoyancy to set to the height of the anchor , when you add weight to it it will sink to the ground …

Gary Pearse
Reply to  rbabcock
April 4, 2022 7:47 am

In North Vancouver, B.C. in what was known as Cypress bowl, a steep forested (old Douglas fir) piece of wilderness a 1000ft+ above the sea with a view o the whole city and harbor, I once owned an acre that I bought for $6,000 in 1969. I sold it for 10,000 in 1974. Years later, giant trees were cleared for construction using a dirigible so not to damage the properties in that tract.

Yeah, they could be useful.

4E Douglas
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 4, 2022 11:42 am

Balloon Logging was replaced by helicopters-easier to deal with but it was effective biggest thing was using helium as the lifting gas-not cheap. Wind was the enemy of all balloon/blimp/Zepp. ops. As I recall some used hydrogen but again, you have another set of problems.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  rbabcock
April 4, 2022 9:15 am

With a 170 ton capacity, about 150 cubic meters of water would be all the ballast you need. Every 2200 pounds you take off, add a cubic meter of water. Could even use temporary bladders to fill, then as you add cargo drain and remove the bladders.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Shanghai Dan
April 4, 2022 12:01 pm

Gee — maybe you could vaporize the water to provide lift and then recondense it to land.

Scissor
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 2:06 pm

At night, they could illuminate a bullseye painted on its underside. This should work especially well in red neck territory.

Rick C
Reply to  rbabcock
April 4, 2022 11:58 am

Another problem with airships – blimps, balloons, dirigibles – is that they don’t deal well with bad weather and can’t easily fly at high altitudes to avoid being blown around. The illustration at the top of post shows a ridiculously small propeller and totally inadequate control surfaces. One can only hope that the unmanned option works out so lives aren’t at risk when on runs into a typhoon on its way across the Pacific.

Richard Page
Reply to  Rick C
April 4, 2022 1:26 pm

Hmm. Unmanned eh? Perhaps this is exactly the craft you need to get small numbers of luxury EV’s to their destination?

Duane
April 4, 2022 6:17 am

The Hindenberg did not “explode” – it burned. Just watch the film – the fire starts near the tail and progressively moves forward.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 6:35 am

Beat me to it – it just burned rapidly – had it exploded it would have been a huge bang.

Charles Higley(@higley7)
Reply to  Ken Irwin
April 4, 2022 7:57 am

It would also have burned even if they were using helium as the lifting gas.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
April 5, 2022 8:18 am

Uuum . . . methinks that qualifies for the phrase “a distinction without a difference”.

Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 6:22 am

I am highly skeptical of their low transport cost, especially due to their proposed use of so-called “green” hydrogen. Did they even consider other fuels? I doubt it. This looks like just one more in an endless stream of costly Greenie schemes, scams and dreams.

SheriffYoda
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 8:14 am

Except that unlike with wind and solar we know hydrogen fuel cells work, NASA has been using them for decades to power spacecraft.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 8:47 am

Nasa does what is necessary regardless of cost as there is no second chance for them.

There is also little comparison between solar panels people put on their houses and the ones Nasa puts on spacecraft.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 9:28 am

well, to generate power on the shuttle and some rockets … no satellites …

Victor
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 9:50 am

A space craft is tiny compared to cargo lift vehicles. The number of vehicles built is tiny too

Duane
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 10:09 am

Most of the major car manufacturers have been producing, selling, and maintaining fuel cell vehicles (FCV) for more than a decade. They’re highly practical, with the major limitation being relatively few retail hydrogen fueling outlets available. If the C-store industry were to start developing such outlets, the sales of FCVs would increase a lot.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 12:52 pm

That they have a few experimental models is not in doubt.
However the problems with them far exceed just the lack of refilling options.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 2:07 pm

That’s very lovely except for the kmown and finite amount of Platinum on this Earth – there simply isn’t enough of it
Unless someone’s found something else that replaces Paltinum in catalytic cells?

Duane
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 10:07 am

Actually hydrogen fuel is really cheap compared to gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel, and has been for a long time even before the recent runup in oil and gas prices. Fuel cell power is extremely efficient in terms of work performed (miles driven or flown) per unit of fuel consumed. Hydrogen fuel is adjudged on GGE – gallons of gasoline equivalent.

Meab
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 10:41 am

Flat lie, DuhWayne. Hydrogen is roughly 4 times the cost per gallon as gasoline. While hydrogen fuel cells are more efficient than an ICE engine, the efficiency difference doesn’t make up for the cost difference.

Before you tell another lie, you should know that I did my Masters on the thermochemical production of hydrogen

Pat Frank
Reply to  Meab
April 4, 2022 11:20 am

Meab, what do you think of direct hydrazine fuel cells?

4E Douglas
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 11:50 am

Hydrazine is fun stuff, too.

Philo
Reply to  4E Douglas
April 7, 2022 8:45 am

The WHOOSH of out of control flames destroying the landing are and any leftover hydrazine poisoning anyone not in a protective suit.

Meab
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 12:57 pm

Potential to solve Hydrogen’s low volumetric energy density. Much research still needed on cost-effective catalysts. You still have to input energy to make the hydrazine, it’s an energy carrier not an energy source.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Meab
April 4, 2022 2:25 pm

I understand the input energy, which is > output energy. And I’ve read a bit about the catalysts.

I was just wondering whether air-hydrazine had been studied. Waste water vapor and N₂ is attractive for high-pollution basins, such as LA.

Last edited 1 month ago by Pat Frank
PCman999
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 10:46 pm

Natural gas fuel cells would be the ticket.

AndyHce
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 11:43 am

So maybe hydrogen isn’t the best fuel.; use whatever is. The particular fuel is irrelevant to the basic concept.

Dudley Horscroft(@dudleyhorscroft)
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 3:25 pm

Worse than That, look at the date. An April fool joke one day late. .

Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 6:23 am

Color me very skeptical. Not because of hydrogen/fuel cells and all the green nonsense. Because of the market. Most goods cross the Pacific by container ship, cheap but relatively slow. Average transit time is about 15 days Shanghai—LA. The stuff that needs to be fast goes by expensive air cargo, average transit time about 15 hours. There isn’t a lot of stuff in between for a journey taking a few days.
Tweener solutions are seldom viable commercially.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 6:40 am

Except if the are unmanned and the cost is even close to shipping by cargo ship they would be a boon for just in time processes.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  bob boder
April 4, 2022 9:36 am

Haven’t we recently demonstrated that JIT isn’t as good an idea as it seemed to the professors who extolled it?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 4, 2022 10:29 am

It worked pretty well before the Wuhan flu & Brandon stole
the election. That was like going from the 21st century back
in time ~100 yrs. A lot of other things aren’t working that well
now either, just as they probably were hoping it wouldn’t!!!

Philip
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 4, 2022 1:22 pm

It’s not JIT that is the problem, it is outsourcing to far away, strange lands. Works when it works, but when something changes, like a random disease for example, you suddenly find that those countries now want to keep all of the product that they manufacture for themselves. Screw contracts. Or politicians do their political thing and fall out, and suddenly your supply of something else vital just stops flowing. Or maybe your crane operators become lazy and you can’t unload all those containers as fast as they arrive, or the latest fashion in climate politics means that only super-expensive, mostly non-existent trucks ae now allowed to access the ports to try to clear out the container backlog.

Before worrying about long distance transport methods, maybe thought needs to be given to repatriating manufacturing. Maybe multi-sourcing might be a good idea too. Then perhaps the hydrogen that would power these devices might be better re-purposed into fuel-cell driven trucks and industrial drones.

MarkW
Reply to  bob boder
April 4, 2022 12:55 pm

It would be easier to make freighters unmannned.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  MarkW
April 4, 2022 5:04 pm

Do you know how much maintenance a ship needs while
it’s en-route? They could probably do a lot of that remotely,
I guess, in the same way we have smart houses.

Reply to  bob boder
April 4, 2022 2:15 pm

Cost for ocean shipping is around one cent per ton. That’s for an LCL – less than a full container. Quite a bit less for full containers (which are charged by volume, unless you have some very dense stuff in it). This will NEVER compete with ocean cargo, unless the idiots that want us to go back to sails realize their fantasies.

AIR freight, possibly. At best, they are costing their fuel and maintenance costs for the dirigibles. Nobody can make anything more than a WAG at the costs for amortizing the capital invested in new facilities, operating costs for those, rakeoffs for unions and politicians and Greens, insurance, etc., etc. etc. My estimate (my WAG, if you will) is that they’ll run somewhere between $3.00 and $5.00 per kilogram.

(By the way, their press release is cockeyed. It says that the cost per TON is between $0.177 and $0.247 per TON, “less than one quarter the cost of traditional air freighters.” Air freight currently runs between $4.00 and $8.00 per KILOGRAM. I find it far more likely that the PR flack was given the estimate in kilos, and heard tons.)

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  writing observer
April 5, 2022 2:49 am

$4.00 and $8.00 per KILOGRAM

You must be joking.

Reply to  Rainer Bensch
April 5, 2022 1:52 pm

https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/transport/publication/air-freight-study#:~:text=The%20demand%20for%20air%20freight%20is%20limited%20by,of%20air%20cargo%20typically%20exceeds%20%244.00%20per%20kilogram.

That’s the “all in” cost, not just operating the planes. Which is what you need to compare to.

See my other comment, though, after I found that their PR figure is actually per ton-MILE.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  writing observer
April 7, 2022 3:01 am

From your link:

One of the principal factors limiting the volume of airfreight in developing countries is the lack of significant volumes of two-way activity.

also:

Air freight rates generally range from $1.50–$4.50 per kilogram, while the value of air cargo typically exceeds $4.00 per kilogram.

I didn’t read any further.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Rainer Bensch
April 7, 2022 7:51 pm

I beg your pardon. I apparently did not read well enough, myself. That report is from 2009.

The figures that I gave in the comment were from here: https://www.freightos.com/freight-resources/air-freight-rates-cost-prices/#definition

In a typical season, international air cargo rates can range from approximately $2.50-$5.00 per kilogram, depending on the type of cargo you’re shipping and available space. However, costs have risen sharply since February 2020 as a result of severe disruptions in ocean freight and high consumer demand. 

Currently, air cargo rates range from $4.00-$8.00 per kilogram.

(Even this site is obviously dated – “the world’s largest cargo plane” is currently sitting in several pieces at Hostomel Airport. It’s certainly not carrying any trains now, or for the foreseeable future…)

mikeworst
Reply to  bob boder
April 6, 2022 7:54 am

Considering the vagary of the weather and the susceptibility of such craft to this the just in time folk would be crazy to rely on this. Even a modest crosswind on such a large surface would throw all time tables out of the window and a strong one would probably have the thing going nowhere at all.

H.R.
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 7:04 am

Rud, at 15 hours for air cargo and 36 hours for this system, it’s a choice similar to ‘Next Day’ or ‘2-Day’ or ‘Ground’ which may take a week or two. There’s a cost difference for each.

People are making those choices right now. Gotta have it now? You pay more for ‘Next Day’. Others choose ‘Express’ but a day or two is cheaper and the extra day or so doesn’t matter vs the extra cost of ‘Next Day’.

And then there’s ‘Ground’ when cost matters most and arrival isn’t so critical.

This will be an ‘Express’ option where it’s significantly faster than by ship, but much cheaper than air freight.


My objection is more along the lines of ‘Green’ being the design driver for the airships, not the transportation option niche where it could be profitable.

Go for the best design and wherever ‘green’ works, use it there. Otherwise, pick a better design option.

rbabcock
Reply to  H.R.
April 4, 2022 8:05 am

Plus you can always ship it by the US Postal service and it never gets there.

Gunga Din
Reply to  H.R.
April 4, 2022 10:17 am

But would it be 36 hours?
The US airship fleet was scrapped because of disasters because they couldn’t out run a storm.
Weather forecasting is lightyears ahead of what it was back then but they’d still have to deal with them.
How fast are they?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Gunga Din
April 4, 2022 11:21 am

It goes 175 mph which is > enough to be able to
avoid/maneuver through bad weather. Also, being able to use
a180 mph jet stream as a crosswind vs it being a headwind
is especially huge at this speed. So good weather forecasting
before it took off would be needed to make this “fly”.

An advantage of being a very fast HUUUUGE helicopter
drone is that it can hover/loiter without having to move
forward to keep air moving past an airfoil. If the destination
airport has unexpected storms, you could shut off your
forward propulsion several hours out to wait out the weather
& congestion, all while “riding” a jet stream forward- FOR FREE!!!!

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 12:53 pm

175 mph is claimed. Not yet demonstrated.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 4, 2022 2:48 pm

Probably honestly calculated – as the maximum speed. As with airplanes, efficient cruising speed is going to be at least 20% lower.

Philip
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 1:27 pm

175mph air speed. Look up jet stream speeds one day.
Or just do a few US west coast to EU round trips, and wonder at why sometimes going one way is so fast, but the same trip in the reverse direction takes SO much longer.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Philip
April 4, 2022 1:48 pm

Actually, I flew in one that was 180mph, with my
ground speed down to 160mph- about as fast as
a Ferrari. If it was a tailwind, I would’ve been
flying ~ 3x as fast. The jet stream made for a
long day!!!

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Philip
April 4, 2022 7:39 pm

It isn’t because of the jet stream, except during rare occasions when said stream dips way low – and then only if you’re flying at 35,000+ feet. The Hindenburg’s normal cruising altitude was 200 meters, or 656 feet.

“Like Graf Zeppelin, Hindenburg often used the technique of pressure pattern navigation which had been pioneered by Hugo Eckener during LZ-126’s crossing to America. Pressure pattern navigation takes advantage of the Coriolis effect, which causes wind to circulate in a counter-clockwise rotation around areas of low pressure in the northern hemisphere. During a westbound crossing of the north Atlantic, therefore, an airship can pick up a tail wind by skirting the northern edge of a storm, and during an eastbound crossing the ship can do the same thing by skirting the southern edge of a storm. Rather than avoid storms and fronts completely, therefore, Hindenburg’s officers frequently took advantage of them to increase speed and efficiency.”

If you want to know what you’re talking about regarding rigid airships (which aren’t blimps), a really good starting point is https://www.airships.net/, the source of the above quote. It is a fascinating technical/historical site on rigid airships, which collects a raft of technical data (including operational information) along with the actual history of the rigid airship industry – which spanned decades.

Alfred Garrett
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 5:36 pm

Jet streams are irregular, variable and discontinuous. They often make big loops to the north and south and sometimes cut off into circular eddies. They are turbulent and can produce strong vertical winds. There would be large uncertainties about duration of flights and arrival times that would have to be managed.

Patty K
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 8:17 pm

BS Meter has pegged at max. Making an inference here: They perhaps intend “farming” water from the atmosphere in flight, supplemented with lake, ocean and river water and converting to hydrogen for fuel.
The thrust required to move an airship at 175mph will be enormous. The engines required will likely be of a weight that will be heavier than the planned available lift capacity. The airship frame alone to support the aerodynamic loads associated with flight at 175mph, or even 120mph (cruise???), would be enormously heavy and eat into available payload. Aerostatic lift from the hydrogen is best at sea level. If flying in the flight levels above 10000ft, aerostatic lift is greatly diminished as too is any atmospheric water recovery.
Airships have always had issues with storms: storm fronts in particular. 175mph would be nice, but an airplane can land. An airship of this planning has to be able to go around the storms. When storm fronts extend for hundreds of miles moving west to east at 30 or 40mph, and many times extending 1/2 the width of the US, it seems like the proponents of this design need to reconsider the logistics.
Airfoils for flight control at 175mph are way different to controls at 5 or 10 mph in hover mode. I suppose the designers are planning on some sort of vectored thrust. Good luck! More stress on the airframe that has to be factored in, in addition to gas pumps, gas lines, water pumps, water ballast containment systems, gas pressurization systems, flight balancing systems through water and gas mass transfer at high volumes. Factor in that no material will ever perfectly contain hydrogen. There will always be some leakage and any leakage will have to be constantly vented to avoid accumulating in any one location and this will be almost impossible to avoid.
This airship design as depicted in the link is unlikely to ever get out of the hangar.

H.R.
Reply to  Gunga Din
April 4, 2022 11:37 am

I was just going by the article, Gunga Din.

Perhaps the 36 hrs is puffery; downhill with a tailwind and sunny shies.


Further down this thread were two good points (forgot who posted)

a) It bypasses the Port of LA and the bottleneck there

2) If it was such a good transport idea, the zippy zepplins would already be all over the place because it’s an old technology.

I thought those were the best pro and con I’ve seen on this thread.

Gunga Din
Reply to  H.R.
April 4, 2022 11:47 am

I admit, anything that bypasses LA, Portland or any other Left-Coast port is a point in it’s favor. 😎

Reply to  H.R.
April 4, 2022 2:49 pm

“Bypasses it” – to where, exactly? Left Coast or not, the infrastructure just does not exist.

PCman999
Reply to  writing observer
April 4, 2022 11:22 pm

Just needs a hook loop to hold it down. The balancing act can be managed by lowering the cargo a skid at a time. Pump the hydrogen out of the bags and compress it into a cylinder to make the ship less boyant.

Not that I think airships are practical for any common purpose – most of the promos mention military, peacekeeping or disaster relief situations where a functional port or airport is not a given.

Still they cool to watch, not practical just cool.

Like wind turbines.

Reply to  PCman999
April 5, 2022 1:58 pm

Have you ever lowered something from a significant height (“significant” being much over 3 meters or 20 feet)? Without a set of belay lines, the load starts swaying. Not a good thing if you’re talking about a ton of mass.

Happens even on a windless day, from a rock stable platform. Just the basic physics of a pendulum; as it gets longer, it moves faster. A completely unnoticeable movement at the top turns into a nasty one as it approaches the bottom.

ih_fan
Reply to  writing observer
April 5, 2022 10:50 am

Left Coast or not, the infrastructure just does not exist.

There are plenty of open areas, railroads, and interstate highways all over – not just on the Left Coast.

Assuming the docking and servicing facilities are constructed for the airships, what else do you need besides material handling equipment?

Reply to  ih_fan
April 5, 2022 2:40 pm

Oh, yes, open areas. Where you have to build the docking facilities, hangars and shops for maintenance, warehousing for transfer to “last mile” road transport (possibly the roads to handle the traffic), and – very important – control towers for airspace deconfliction.

That is if you want to replace the current air freight system.

Now, some people have mentioned their use for delivering to disaster areas where the infrastructure for airplanes and roads is partially or completely unusable. Intelligent use there, not what the company is advertising. Some very tiny use for remote areas that are not accessible for time critical goods. Again, not what the company is advertising.

I’m not going to address railroads or interstate highways. Things get QUITE hairy when something that they are not designed for uses those.

Reply to  H.R.
April 4, 2022 2:46 pm

See above. My estimate (WAG) is around 25% cheaper, which is significant. However, it assumes a support infrastructure that is as mature as that for airplanes. Otherwise, you could be shipping your memory chips from Taipei to LA – then cross-loading to a 777 (at a different facility) to get it in four or five days after ordering it for your plant in Kansas City. At maybe $0.25 less in total cost than just having it travel on a plane all the way, and available in one or two days.

How many years, and how much capital, to build a dirigible port? Multiply that by around 5,000 to match the number of public airports in the US.

Duane
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 10:11 am

There isn’t a lot of stuff in between for a journey taking a few days.” Well, duh, that’s because there aren’t any dirigibles engaged in large scale cargo transport. If they were, then there would be “a lot of stuff in between”. The economics are obvious – 1/7 the transit time of ships and 1/4 the cost of heavier than air freight.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 12:54 pm

Claimed, not yet demonstrated.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 4, 2022 2:50 pm

Not even WAGged.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 12:58 pm

Heck with market research, lets just assume that as long as we build, customers will start demanding it.

PCman999
Reply to  Duane
April 4, 2022 11:30 pm

Well, duh! Where are all these economical airships if it’s such a no-brainer?

I’ve been seeing articles like this for literally decades and nothing’s come of it.

A lot like fusion.

mikeworst
Reply to  Duane
April 6, 2022 8:07 am

Your evidence for that is?

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 12:01 pm

I’ve purchased several camera related things from camera sellers in Japan – lenses etc. Usually for about 60% of what I’d have to pay here. The shipping cost is usually about $30 for fedex air for a one to two pound package and it takes about 4 days total. Considering the cost of the item – 200 to 600 dollars – the shipping cost is minor

PCman999
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 4, 2022 10:50 pm

Long distance supply chains need to die – I hate financing the Chinese slave factory and green alarmist should be calling out all that unnecessary, “dangerous” CO2 baked into every purchase from overseas.

Bloke down the pub
April 4, 2022 6:28 am

As a shareholder, it would be remiss of me to not point to this competitor. HAV (hybridairvehicles.com)

2hotel9
April 4, 2022 6:34 am

Do these people have a learning disability? Why would you not use helium? Using hydrogen is just stupid.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 6:50 am

What is used for propulsion, not lift, is what is under discussion. I imagine helium is used for lift. It is the safest.

2hotel9
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 7:36 am

All I am seeing is talk of hydrogen. As a fuel for ICE propulsion it would be good. Went to their webpage, and as others have said it will need massive subsidizing to work out. Wonder if Elon would be interested.

Tom.1
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 8:43 am

I looked at their website and it suggests to me that they do use hydrogen as the lift gas.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 9:43 am

But then it weighs twice as much.

AndyHce
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
April 4, 2022 11:51 am

and probably costs orders of magnitude less

Reply to  AndyHce
April 4, 2022 2:52 pm

You can make hydrogen. Not so for helium (at least for the next 40 years until the fusion plants go on line…)

OldGriz
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
April 5, 2022 2:19 am

H2 weighs the same as He1.

william Johnston
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 6:55 am

The answer is in the story. They use it because it is “GREEN”.

2hotel9
Reply to  william Johnston
April 4, 2022 7:33 am

Green! Yay! Brandon is illustrating to America how stupid green is. Hopefully enough people are paying attention.

Bob Tisdale(@bobtisdale)
Editor
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 8:00 am

2hotel9, when have enough people ever paid attention? Beliefs, regardless of how they’re created, always win over reality for many persons, sadly.

Regards,
Bob

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 4, 2022 10:49 am

True. Emotions win people over regardless of the facts.
That’s why there is a degradation of business and education systems to promote diversity and inclusion rather than critical thinking and merit.

The oligarchs are trying to dumb down the populace so as to lead them through emotions rather than facts.
It appears to be working considering how well lockdowns and vaccination passports worked for a longer time period than I thought possible.

AndyHce
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 4, 2022 11:53 am

Emotion has been well proven over millennia.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 4, 2022 10:21 pm

Yep! In the Spokane, WA. area a week ago. Even in establishments where mask-wearing has been ignored for months, about 15% were still wearing. I asked a young employee (nicely) if he was aware that they were more or less useless against flu viruses, got a “uhuh” and a walk away. ???

S Browne
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 7:04 am

Because helium is relatively scare and much more expensive. Do a little more research before calling people stupid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifting_gas

Last edited 1 month ago by S Browne
2hotel9
Reply to  S Browne
April 4, 2022 7:31 am

We have already seen the results of using hydrogen. Lets us not learn from history! That is always fun.

OweninGA
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 7:50 am

That was more the result of the materials of the skin and paint. If you put gunpowder on cloth, and then have a high static charge that is inadvertently discharged through the cloth to the mooring tower, a really vigorous fire will result. Make the skin something non-combustible and protect the lift bags from oxygen and there won’t be a problem.

Of course, if someone starts shooting at you, you’re a sitting duck on a bomb, but hopefully it won’t be used in combat.

Dan B
Reply to  OweninGA
April 4, 2022 8:19 am

Having both crewed and flown airships in the 90’s I can guarantee you will get shot at. We would find bullet holes and occasionally spent bullets every time we did a lift week normally once a week. Chicago and NW Florida seemed to be the worst culprits. And who would shoot at a cute flying whale?

Dan B
Reply to  Dan B
April 4, 2022 8:38 am

Should be “lift check” …

Steve Case
Reply to  OweninGA
April 4, 2022 8:32 am

A short search on “hindenburg paint” turns up all sorts of interesting factoids.

AndyHce
Reply to  OweninGA
April 4, 2022 12:01 pm

I’m not part of the anti-gun tribe but it is impossible to ignore that there are a lot of idiots with guns. Consider Extinction Rebellion or the new group of idiots deflating SUV tires or the not inconsiderable number of malicious jerks spreading malware.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  AndyHce
April 4, 2022 10:25 pm

The idiots in gov’t. far outnumber the idiots with guns, and do FAR more damage.

AndyHce
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 11:56 am

One major disaster, not the fault of the hydrogen. It is rather like Chernoby having killed nuclear power all on its own.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  S Browne
April 4, 2022 10:23 pm

I heard that Wiki had become ‘woke’. Should it be trusted, like we trust the msm?

Tregonsee
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 7:21 am

It would be just as green to use helium for lift, hydrogen for power, and a great deal safer. However, unless this gets subsidized heavily, it will crash and burn as a business. Hopefully not literally!

OweninGA
Reply to  Tregonsee
April 4, 2022 8:05 am

Most commercial helium is a bi-product from natural gas wells. The helium has to be separated out at the well-head and piped off separately for processing and purification. Most gas producers don’t bother with it because it is a lot of trouble for very little product. Because of that natural gas association, greenies wouldn’t want to be associated with it. (We euphemistically say it is a “mined” resources to ease the consciences of the resident greenies.)

Of course those of us who work with superconductors bathed in liquid helium wish more sources were available. Our provider got the stuff we use from a little place in northern Ukraine which unfortunately no longer exists. I have about 3 months to figure out where I am getting liquid helium before my magnets become wires and the research they support stops. Also more sources might bring the price down from the $3000 for 100liters to something less traumatizing to the budget. (Research ain’t cheap.)

PCman999
Reply to  OweninGA
April 4, 2022 11:40 pm

$3000/100 litres? So $30,000 per cubic meter and still it’s not worth it for some producers???

OweninGA
Reply to  PCman999
April 5, 2022 3:50 am

That is liquid cryogenic helium. The gas volume to make it is much larger. 750 to 1.

Don Perry
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 7:27 am

Because it’s twice as heavy as hydrogen. Hydrogen is a diatomic gas with a molecular mass of about 2. Helium is an inert gas with an atomic mass of about 4. Further, helium is more unreliable in availability, with on-again, off-again scarcity. Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water or through chemical processes.

Sal Minella
Reply to  Don Perry
April 4, 2022 7:53 am

Helium can be produced by one of the many fusion reactors that are about to come online.

OweninGA
Reply to  Sal Minella
April 4, 2022 10:32 am

Then the question is: What’s the excited state half-life for the resulting helium?

When those four protons fuse and then two gender-bend to become neutrons, there is a gamma release. Then they almost never combine in the ground state, so they keep emitting gamma rays until they settle to the ground state. Of course looking at the data, the half-lives are on the 10s of nanoseconds. So after a few hours the gamma detections will go down to background. The only constraint then is how they are collecting and segregating the helium nuclei. I haven’t looked at the various technologies to see what they do with the alpha emissions.

Meab
Reply to  OweninGA
April 4, 2022 11:28 am

The first generation of fusion reactors, if they ever happen, won’t use proton-proton, they’ll use Deuterium-Tritium because it’s a factor of ~1000 easier. The Deuterium can come from sea water but the tritium will have to be made by bombarding Lithium with neutrons – that is if there’s any Lithium left after it all gets used in batteries.

PCman999
Reply to  Meab
April 4, 2022 11:53 pm

Currently tritium is $30,000 per gram, GRAM. A ton of coal produces about the same amount of energy as a gram of tritium (let’s pretend D2 is free… But it ain’t) last time I crunched the numbers and currently fusion reactors don’t even make enough power to keep themselves going mush less have any surplus. And are horrendously expensive, so that the fixed costs alone on your electric bill would be ruinous.

None of the big labs will lead to anything useful, already obsolete really.

Smaller labs and private startups are using newer higher temperature superconductors in tighter spaces with much more concentrated fields. That’s where the breakthrough will happen.

PCman999
Reply to  Sal Minella
April 4, 2022 11:42 pm

“Helium can be produced by one of the many fusion reactors that are about to come online.”

Hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha

alastair gray
Reply to  Don Perry
April 4, 2022 11:52 am

But the lifting effect is proportional to the molecular mass of air minus molecular mass of gasbag fill. Air has molecular mass about 30 (mid way between O2 and N2 so it is 28 units of lift for Hydrogen vs 26 units for helium . -Not much difference really

OldGriz
Reply to  alastair gray
April 5, 2022 2:29 am

H2 weighs the same as He1.

OldGriz
Reply to  Don Perry
April 5, 2022 2:27 am

Hydrogen gas is H2 atomic weight 4 while helium gas is monatomic so atomic weight also 4.

OweninGA
Reply to  OldGriz
April 5, 2022 3:42 am

You might want to check you H2 mass. H is a hair over 1 (1.00784), so H2 is a hair over 2.

TonyG
Reply to  OldGriz
April 5, 2022 8:24 am

Where are you getting that from? Not correct unless it’s Deuterium.

Richard Page
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 8:01 am

Chances are they’ll have to use Helium at least over the USA – Hydrogen is still banned for use as a lifting gas.

PCman999
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 11:55 pm

Brandon will fix that up in short order – the various blimp companies just have to make the appropriate transfers through Hunter.

rbabcock
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 8:07 am

He is in short supply and expensive.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 9:17 am

Hydrogen is half as dense as Helium.

alastair gray
Reply to  Rocketscientist
April 4, 2022 11:52 am

not much difference in lift =see above

OldGriz
Reply to  Rocketscientist
April 5, 2022 2:31 am

Hydrogen gas is diatomic Emile helium gas is monatomic. So they weigh the same.

Peter Muller
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 10:46 am

Because helium costs roughly $300 per mcf. It’s a rather scarce gas. How much helium would one of these heavy lift 250 m long puppies hold? anyone?

AndyHce
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 11:50 am

helium is somewhat rare, thus expensive. It cannot be manufactured, unlike hydrogen, as it isn’t part of any common molecules.

Philip
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 1:31 pm

Hydrogen is really abundant on Earth. Helium is not. What is here is the product of radioactive decay. Unlike hydrogen, you can’t just “make more”. There is a very limited supply, and when it is gone, it is gone.

Scissor
Reply to  2hotel9
April 4, 2022 2:12 pm

There’s a helium shortage going on for a few years now.

2hotel9
Reply to  Scissor
April 5, 2022 7:44 am

Here we are, Helium is again in short supply (scitation.org) Reading this article it appears much of the problem is mismanagement/incompetence at BLM here and same at Amur in Russia. Imagine that.

Bloke down the pub
Reply to  2hotel9
April 5, 2022 5:34 am

Might make sense for an unmanned vehicle

mikeworst
Reply to  2hotel9
April 6, 2022 8:10 am

Because helium is expensive and scarce but either option is stupid anyhow.

2hotel9
Reply to  mikeworst
April 6, 2022 9:19 am

From what I am reading when we get Bureau of Land Management and EPA out of the helium business that would change. Still a stupid idea over all.

Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2022 6:37 am

Well, why not? As long as it’s not taxpayer funded / subsidized. Maybe one of the tech billionaires will step up to the plate – the first test load could be a Apple toys. One advantage not mentioned in the story is that if it’s really economic, the Left coast’s death grip on cargo handling could be broken.

MJB
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2022 8:09 am

I think this is one of the more interesting aspects, not being held geographically hostage by existing ports and deep harbors. I recognize there’s a lot of momentum behind the existing ports in terms of multi-modal infrastructure and connections, but I don’t think it will take long to realize they are not optimal locations for distribution, and getting a dirigible near a port city, with complex air space, people, etc. is not ideal. There’s typically other rail and road hubs in the middle of a country, often with a willing and under-employed blue collar workforce.

Last edited 1 month ago by MJB
Old Man Winter
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2022 8:15 am

As far as the amount of cargo it can handle, it should still be thought of as an
aircraft, not a ship. In a paper exercise where we were fighting a simulated
war in the Middle East, it took a day or two for 250 C-130s to distribute all the
cargo from a normal sized ship, ~15T (half a semi load) at a time. It’s for that
reason, the Army needs a port nearby for conflicts half way around the world
& land routes to supply the troops locally as air supply is only a temporary
solution as it also burns a lot of gas. Logistics, logistics, logistics!!!!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 8:26 am

Since Afghanistan was land-locked, we had to rely on Pakistan for
most of the material. It’s obvious the Pakis didn’t mind Al Qaeda too
much as that was where Bin Ladin bin hidin’ & every $ given them
would be used for the Indian border. I knew from the beginning a
sustained operation wouldn’t go too well as the logistics were bad &
Al Qaeda could hide in Pakistan, like the VC went into Cambodia.
There was no rock & a hard place!

fretslider
April 4, 2022 6:38 am

“Green hydrogen”

Only it isn’t ‘green’ at all. It takes energy to get the Hydrogen from a molecule of water. And of course, that energy is unlikely to be entirely from unreliables. 

They want to walk progress back to relying on wind and Sun – beau temps – and now they want to go back to the balloon. That’s fine if time is not an issue, but you cannot run a modern economy on Zeppelins instead of freight aircraft.

Not without some form of rationing and crisis management

SheriffYoda
Reply to  fretslider
April 4, 2022 8:22 am

Except they are talking about replacing fast air freight, but providing a middle option. Not every suggestion that has green in it is talking about a complete replacement of existing tech…just what comes out of the IPCC’s recommendations.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 10:33 pm

presume you meant “they are not talking about”…

Tom Gasloli
Reply to  fretslider
April 4, 2022 12:39 pm

Balloons, wind mills, and government run centrally planned economies: why do the “progressives” only have failed ideas from the early 20th century.

mark d
April 4, 2022 6:48 am

Hydrogen as the lift? Oh boy…

Richard Page
Reply to  mark d
April 4, 2022 7:01 am

Not sure. They may have to go with Helium instead and Hydrogen just as propulsion – Hydrogen is still banned as a lift gas in the USA.

Mark D
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 8:31 am

The H2 Clipper – H2 Clipper, Inchttps://external-content.duckduckgo.com/ip3/h2clipper.com.icohttps://h2clipper.com
The H2Clipper utilizes 100% green hydrogen both as a lifting gas and as fuel.

Richard Page
Reply to  Mark D
April 4, 2022 9:13 am

Then they won’t be flying it over the USA without a change in the law. Perhaps it’s intended for the export market?

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 12:08 pm

If there is “green” in the label, laws and regulations will be no barrier.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Mark D
April 4, 2022 10:23 am

Please define the difference between “green hydrogen” and regular hydrogen?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Gunga Din
April 4, 2022 11:31 am

I’ll have to ask Greta. Maybe she can see
hydrogen, too!!! 😉 😉 😉

peter schell
April 4, 2022 6:49 am

Just about every year there seems to be a story about the possibility of a resurgence in Dirigibles. Going back to the sixties.

While I can see the potential for certain limited usages, they would not provide enough profit to make it worth while.

The best I’ve ever seen is a long duration spy station hovering for weeks at high altitude, but satellites have pretty much filled the niche for that.

SheriffYoda
Reply to  peter schell
April 4, 2022 8:26 am

I can see it as a passenger service, for tourism specifically as a dirigible can provide more space which means either more luxury and comfort or more seating. Considering the longer travel times, I would, if operating a company opt for more luxury and comfort to redistribute money from the middling rich to my pocket. 🙂

Mark D
Reply to  peter schell
April 4, 2022 9:59 am

comment image

John Pickens
Reply to  peter schell
April 4, 2022 10:17 am

The concept of cargo dirigibles and zeppelins always has a predicted time to become widespread of 10-15 years. Just like fusion!

Joseph Zarebski
April 4, 2022 6:58 am

They are building way too many solar farms in California and need a sink for all of that excess power. So they are going to dump it into hydrogen production, flooding the market and thus lowering the market cost. It is not a terrible idea to try and clean up the mess they are making of their power grid.

John Pickens
Reply to  Joseph Zarebski
April 4, 2022 10:21 am

Energy cost of PV panel production, plus power conditioning equipment, plus electrolysis equipment, plus operation of electrolysis equipment, plus compressor equipment, plus liquification equipment, plus operation of compression and liquification equipment, plus storage equipment, plus transportation of stored H2, plus thermodynamic losses on the whole shebang.

Will this be a net energy source or sink?
Show me the math before proceeding.

AndyHce
Reply to  John Pickens
April 4, 2022 12:14 pm

The ridiculous part starts with building the solar facilities. Once those exist and, as those is southern California, produce oodles of electricity when it isn’t needed (which CA currently pays other states millions of $ to take off their hands), putting the excess electricity to some kind of use isn’t so stupid.

PCman999
Reply to  John Pickens
April 5, 2022 12:21 am

“Show me the math before proceeding.”

Too late, the government has already spent OUR money on these kind of 💩.

John Smith
April 4, 2022 7:00 am

I wonder if they factored in the cost of insurance into their costings? Can’t imagine ANYONE would want to insure them.

Earthling2
Reply to  John Smith
April 5, 2022 9:22 am

That was what I was thinking with the cost of insurance going exponential, even if you don’t have a claim. And once you start having claims, and Gov’t regulated, if you can’t get insured, you might not have a viable business. Assuming the technology actually works as advertised for the price point they are requiring to be profitable.

TEWS_Pilot
April 4, 2022 7:02 am

Load it up with hundreds of Electric Vehicles and spare battery packs and Solar Panels and fly it around the world a couple of times to show off the Green Miracle.

TonyL
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
April 4, 2022 7:31 am

I like it.
Also, do not forget to observe all OHSA safety regulations. (That should help a lot.)

Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 7:25 am

The Hindenburg, for example, used a diesel-powered engine. If the concern today were in fact cost (and this includes all manner of subsidies for “greenness”), then I imagine some sort of diesel engine would be used today as well. But noooo, they want to “save the planet”.

Richard from Brooklyn (South)
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2022 1:11 pm

The Zeppelins were able to use ‘blaugas’ for their engines which did not change the mass of the ship when burned. This reduced the problem of getting lighter as the ship used up fuel. They also had a water recovery system from the by-product of combustion as well as water collection from the top of the ship from precipitation. The biggest operational issue for airships is weight management in flight. Read Hugo Eckner’s autobiography ‘My Zeppelins’.
Well managed hydrogen is probably the best lifting gas but regulators and the public will never allow it.
Ground handling is a challenge and would need a mast (but still not easy). Weather also remains a constant issue. Flying in winds over 100 kts is exceedingly difficult.
I am surprised the design has the airscrew at the rear in messed up air from the (small) control surfaces. Having 4 or 6 airscrews on the lower sides that could be turned 90 degrees would give forward and back, turning and some up and down control.

PCman999
Reply to  Richard from Brooklyn (South)
April 5, 2022 12:24 am

You bring up a good point – this design might just be to hook some gullible green investors.

zack aa
Reply to  Richard from Brooklyn (South)
April 5, 2022 8:35 am

Maybe there’s an Osprey duct taped to the other side.

Harry Passfield
April 4, 2022 7:28 am

Thing is, if it wasn’t for the ‘green’ credentials – such as they are – would they have even bothered with this development? Is it actually supportable as a transport business?

Richard Page
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 4, 2022 8:04 am

The fact that we don’t have fleets of them already plying the trade routes across the world should answer that question adequately – the technology is hardly new.

David Anderson
April 4, 2022 7:35 am

“deliver goods directly from a factory in China to a distribution center in the U.S. in less than 36 hours.”

I hope they have a back-up marketing plan because that trade is about to come to a screeching halt.

DMacKenzie
April 4, 2022 7:52 am

Airship history is fraught with disaster. The British M101 went down over France on its maiden voyage to India in 1930. Only 8 people survived. Passengers included an A-list of British diplomats and parliamentarians and the airship program was cancelled. M100 which had made a successful maiden voyage to Montreal including a return trip across the Atlantic in 56 hours, was put in its hangar and eventually scrapped.
Anyone thinking airships are a good idea should read “Sliderule” by Nevil Shute. His conclusion is that their economics died with the introduction of the DC-3…..

https://www.airshipsonline.com/airships/r101/index.html

Old Man Winter
Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 4, 2022 9:13 am

I see it as a very fast-moving HUUUUGE helicopter drone, none of which exists today. Someone suggested it could fill the 2nd day delivery market as
air freight is very expensive. This would act more like a plane. In emergency
situations, it would be more like a ginormous helicopter, going places where
trucks & planes can’t reach. There’s potential with this concept- maybe in
smaller/bigger sizes. The Osprey was designed specifically to as a big
plane/helicopter after the Iran hostage rescue attempt failed. (I think-
regardless who was president- it’s chance of success was quite low- ~5%-
20%, as it was too far for the slower helicopters along with the big
uncertainty of where exactly the hostages were being held. In Vietnam, they
raided a POW camp S of Hanoi & unfortunately it was empty when they got
there.)

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 9:23 am

In the case of a flight from China to Chicago, where the weather
turned unexpectedly bad at Chicago, the forward propulsion could
be shut down over the Dakotas for an hour or two, letting both the
weather & the congestion clear. The jet stream would then propel it
eastward to Chicago- FOR FREE. Planes can never do that!!

Mark D
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 10:19 am

That is one huge sail in a gale!

PCman999
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 5, 2022 12:28 am

China to Chicago could go over the North Pole.

Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 7:53 am

I think their pipe-within-a-pipe concept for transporting hydrogen up to 1000
miles is very interesting as it may have other applications

https://hydrogen-central.com/h2-clipper-patented-pipe-pipe-technology-last-mile-delivery-pure-hydrogen/

Sal Minella
April 4, 2022 7:56 am

Windmills, dirigibles…let me hop on my penny-farthing and ride on down to the chemist to get some mercury for my sniffles.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sal Minella
April 4, 2022 8:06 am

Agreed. What is it with the green blob and their endless fascination with resurrecting past technology?

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 11:13 am

They are getting more modern. Windmills are 14th century tech. Photovoltaics are 19th century tech. Dirigibles are 20th century tech although it is based on earlier balloon tech.
Pretty soon the greenies will catch up, just give them time. 🤢

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 4, 2022 11:36 am

I didn’t know PVs were used in the 19th century as they
were still using cat’s whisker’s 100 yrs ago to get non-
inearity. I’m curious to know about what we think as new tech
actually being old tech. Thanks ahead of time.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 11:37 am

OOPS- inearity = linearity

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 11:09 pm
  • 1839 – Edmond Becquerel discovers PV effect.
  • 1883 – An American inventor, Charles Fritts develops the first PV cell by putting selenium on a metal plate.
  • 1877 – William Adams and Richard Day, both American scientists, publish “The action of light on selenium.”
  • 1888 – An American chemist, Edward Weston receives the first US Patent for Solar Cell.
  • 1888 to 1891 – Aleksandr Stoletov develops the first solar cell using the outer photoelectric effect.
Richard Page
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 4, 2022 11:38 am

Not sure we have enough time for that learning curve!

Richard Page
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 4, 2022 1:39 pm

Digs are c19th tech although they only came of age into the c20th. First Dig flights were in the 1870’s and 80’s.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 12:18 pm

cyberpunk

Last edited 1 month ago by AndyHce
Richard Page
Reply to  AndyHce
April 4, 2022 1:41 pm

That’s the SOTA curve you’re thinking of, I believe.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 4:39 pm

cyberpunk is real and not some kind of curve
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk

Richard Page
Reply to  AndyHce
April 5, 2022 10:03 am

Um yeah, right. The SOTA curve is a real concept that has been in use for some time. Do look up the SOTA or “State Of The Art” curve, it’s been a staple of the cyberpunk genre since the 80’s.

beng135
Reply to  Sal Minella
April 5, 2022 2:00 am

And have the women go down to the corner drug store for some arsenic-tonic to lighten their complexion.

Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 7:57 am

“Moreover, using today’s modern navigation technology, it could transport unmanned.”

Great idea!!! It may be the largest drone built.

Richard Page
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 9:16 am

The USAF have been interested in using fleets of drones rather than expensive manned vehicles.
Another buyer might be Amazon – imagine a few of these flying around with smaller Amazon drones flying packages from them to the customer’s house!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 10:03 am

Super-duper idea. Get funding & you could be the next Bezos!!!

Mark D
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 10:21 am

Coat it with Martian Stealth Technology and you have a winner. 😉

Mark D
Reply to  Mark D
April 4, 2022 2:13 pm

I am pleased someone got the reference.

Art Yatsko
April 4, 2022 7:59 am

Do the 5-6 containers just dangle underneath? I didn’t see any bomb bay doors in the video to bring them inside…. to challenge the loadmaster.

Art Yatsko
Reply to  Art Yatsko
April 4, 2022 8:00 am

Or is it going to move fuel across regions when pipelines are forbidden?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Art Yatsko
April 4, 2022 8:40 am

Great idea! It could be used in emergency situations to haul a lot
of freight a short distance that can’t be reached by ground or where
there is no runway!!! And it all can be done with this “super-drone”.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 8:44 am

Also- evacuate a lot of people who are stranded. The risk over
a short distance would probably worth it. Smaller versions
could also be an option.

Oldseadog
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 9:15 am

That is called a parrafin parrot or helicopter.

Richard Page
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 9:18 am

Brilliant idea – you could load them up with water and they could be emergency firefighting vehicles for forest fires – oh, wait. sarc

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 9:54 am

Any low, slow flying in mountainous are is much, much
more dangerous than when doing so over flat terrain. I
know of at least three incidences, one of them fighting
a fire in the Black Hills, where the plane crashed under these conditions. Like them, I was also used to flying
over flat terrain (I refer to myself as a “flatlander”)
Since that is what you are used to doing, it’s SOOOO
easy to make mistakes that can cost you your life
where they wouldn’t have been an issue back at home
base. A big problem is that when you are flying visual,
there is no flat horizon upon which to get a visual
reference. It’s very easy to think you are flying straight
& level when in fact you are climbing & will fall out of
the sky after stalling.

Actually, your idea may be better than you thought as it
could be done remotely where there is no risk of loss
of life. The drone can hover & hit a hotspot far below it,
which is a lot easier than hitting a target flying @ 130
mph. I did 1000s of airdrops- day & night- & can vouch
for what I’m saying.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 4, 2022 10:37 am

1st sentence- are = areas

SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 8:02 am

I’ve always been a fan of lighter than air ships. I think the Hindenburg disaster caused an out sized backlash to the technology. I can also see these as a more comfortable form of air travel for leisure travel.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  SheriffYoda
April 4, 2022 8:21 am

They just aren’t practical.

Quelgeek
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 5, 2022 5:43 am

A personal hovercraft isn’t practical either but I still want one.

tetris
April 4, 2022 8:10 am

The marketing folks at H2 appear to be innumerate (50-60% of the population is, so they’re not alone). A 170 ton payload? That’s 4 semis, big deal.
7,500 m3 of water (specific weight 1) is 7,500 tons. So maybe the thing can transport 7,500 of something with a specific weight of feather down.
Yet another dead end technology re-cycled.

Coach Springer
April 4, 2022 8:14 am

The amount of CO2 “saved” by not using diesel for propulsion is immaterial to a “green world.” I smell a huge amount of boosterism/marketing involved in this informercial.

leowaj
April 4, 2022 8:26 am

I like the idea in theory but am a bit concerned about the security. Namely, if China decides they don’t like us anymore they can take these things down with pebbles. We should be very damn careful when pursuing automation just to lower costs. At the same time as we lower costs, we may end up greatly raising risks.

beng135
April 4, 2022 8:30 am

Wow, a 170-ton load!!! Almost as much as 2 railroad cars……

Bob Dehmer
April 4, 2022 8:34 am

Any discussion of the technical or commercial details is moot if this thing can’t outrun or hide from a squall line. Convective weather is death for LTA (lighter than air) vehicles.

Tom.1
April 4, 2022 8:45 am

Being “green” does not make something a bad idea; what makes it a bad idea is economics. I don’t care if it’s “green” as long as it works and it’s less expensive than the alternative. Admittedly, “green” has not very often delivered on those things.

Tom.1
April 4, 2022 8:51 am

This is just a guess, but if someone asked me to design one of these things, it would have a heavier than air gas along to use as ballast to adjust the buoyancy (CO2 would be good). When you wanted to reduce lift you would release heavy gas into ballast chambers and pump the light gas into pressurized storage. Reverse to gain lift.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Tom.1
April 4, 2022 12:03 pm

And the ballast and storage tanks, Tom.1 — what is their weight?

Tom.1
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 2:42 pm

Oh man, I never thought of that.

dk_
April 4, 2022 8:51 am

The cargo transport cost: between $0.177 to $0.247 per ton, which is “less than one-quarter the cost of traditional air freighters”.

This assumes a low or zero cost for hydrogen. Similar overly optimistic fuel and overhead costs are used to tout other forms of transportation. It is far from a promise and is at best irrational exuberance, but more commonly an outright confidence trick not far removed from net zero and other nonsense.

A low cost hydrogen economy requires hydrogen generation using low priced fossil fuels, and will do so for at least another century.

You’ll also note that the cost comparison is to other air freighters, not to cargo ships. Compared to heavier-than-air transport, you’d also have to account for the time difference — an airship might take five to fifty times longer to transport the same distance as a cargo aircraft, rendering the LTA ship unsuitable for some goods or locations. Dirigibles required much different support infrastructure than do modern airports, as well as different operational considerations — the differences adding up to much more costs hidden by the writer of the article and promoters of the technology.

Last edited 1 month ago by dk_
Reply to  dk_
April 4, 2022 3:41 pm

They also say “cost per ton.” Note that “traditional air freight” is (or was, before the plandemic) at the lowest $2.50 per KILOGRAM. Or $2,500 per metric ton. Their press release claim is cockeyed.

Ah. Finally bothered to look at their website. The PR flack left off “-mile.”

So, at 6,000 miles, that is a lowball of $1,060 per ton, or $1.06 per kilogram. Which IS about a quarter of the (current) lowball for air freight at $4.00 per kilogram.

BUT – that is only the OPERATING cost. Dirigible port capital cost amortization. Port operating expense. Union wages for, at least, Western countries. Payoffs to union bosses, politicians, “green” activist organizations.

I’ll stick with my lowball of $3.00 from above.

George V
April 4, 2022 8:52 am

Hmmm… I recall the cargo carrying dirigible or blimp idea showing up every 10 or 15 years going back to when I was in college in the 1970’s, during the first “energy crisis” caused by the Arab oil embargo. Airships were going to make cargo shipping dirt cheap. More recently I saw a design for one that would really work, this time for sure, because it had a double flotation chamber design, looking like two bananas glued together. It may have been the last time oil was up around $100/barrel.

All they’ve done this time is cook up a “green” angle to the same idea that has yet to, shall we say, float.

Pat Frank
Reply to  George V
April 4, 2022 11:38 am

All they’ve done this time is cook up a “green” angle” guaranteed to attract naïve investors and government subsidies.

When the program goes bust, the founders will walk away rich, the investors will suffer their loss, the citizens will be poorer (for having had their pockets picked), and a mess will be left for others to clean up.

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
April 4, 2022 8:55 am

The only way this ship can travel at 175 km/h is in the jet stream with a 160km/h tail wind.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  ferdberple
April 4, 2022 9:37 am

It’s 175 mph, not km/h. One can’t get away such shenanigans! I did have a
160k (180 mph) headwind for awhile while flying against the jet stream, so
you did bring up a very good point

ResourceGuy
April 4, 2022 9:13 am

It will of course be another autonomous vehicle overhead to go with autonomous 18-wheeler trucks and cars on the road with you and battery fires in your neighborhood. Will we add autonomous dirigible chaser lawyers too?

Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 4, 2022 9:31 am

No, the Hindenburg didn’t explode. And I’ll be very impressed if this thing can fly at 175 mph.

Tom.1
April 4, 2022 9:36 am

There is never any shortage of pessimists who are quick to dismiss every new idea that comes along. If this were an immutable characteristic of the human animal, flintknapping would still be our most advanced technology.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Tom.1
April 4, 2022 11:15 am

The word is “skeptic”, not pessimists.
And if more were more skeptical of all the the nonsense (costly nonsense) going on in the guise of “Going Green” we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.

PS Commenters are asking good questions about the idea’s viability.
As long as there are no tax-payers dollars propping it up, I wish it all the luck in the world.
(But I won’t be investing until those good questions are answered.)

Richard Page
Reply to  Gunga Din
April 4, 2022 1:44 pm

I’m an optimistic sceptic – I always hope for the best but frequently get disappointed.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Tom.1
April 4, 2022 11:40 am

Nor a shortage of suckers for snake oil.

meab
Reply to  Tom.1
April 4, 2022 2:01 pm

There is never any shortage of ignorant people that think an old idea is new. The airship predated airplanes by 50 years. The rigid airship predates the Wright Flyer.

While new technology can make an old, discarded idea more attractive, the desire to develop a modern Zeppelin appears to come about mainly from (pseudo) green considerations – not from a reimagination of the concept using updated technology. That’s the kiss of death.

Reply to  Tom.1
April 4, 2022 4:18 pm

There is never any shortage of optimists who are quick to hare off after every new idea that comes along, without considering the costs. If this were an immutable characteristic of the human animal, we would long be extinct.

Rocketscientist
April 4, 2022 9:38 am

I’ve read through the numerous comments and have not seen one from an aerodynamicist or anyone in the industry.
LTA (lighter than air) vehicles are at a distinct disadvantage over than Lighter Than Water vehicles (boats) primarily because the density of water does not change that much due to climatic or diurnal atmospheric changes. The buoyancy of these vehicle and hence their ability to transport mass (cargo) through their respective fluid mediums is of paramount importance. LTAs suffer from needing to constantly adjust their densities. Those nonrigid types (Blimps) have very limited ranges as they must adjust pressure within parameters required to provide structural stability.

If the LTAs didn’t constantly adjust buoyancy they would be popping up in altitudes or dipping down below acceptable levels. This would cause all sorts of undesired weather issues and drastically effect ability to navigate. To allow for buoyancy adjustment all LTAs must carry pressurized gas to replace that which was vented when excess buoyancy conditions existed. This limits range as they have fixed adjustment capability.

An interesting side note as to the classifications of airships.
Type A was rigid and had internal frames to provide structure. They were the Zeppelins and such and suffered from the added structural mass.
Type B was limp and require inflation pressure to provide shape and structural stability.
Type B (limp) eventually became just Blimps

Oh, and BTW try to fly an LTA over a mountain range.

ferdberple(@ferdberple)
April 4, 2022 9:54 am

You can have price, performance and safety. But never all 3 at the same time.

Air pressure goes up as the square of the wind speed. You can certainly make a large balloon that can lift weight, but can you make it rigid enough that it wont flog itself to death once set in motion?

175 km/h is hurricane force winds. Dacron and kevlar main sails on a boat quickly flog themselves to death and they are not by any means light weight.

Andy Pattullo
April 4, 2022 10:58 am

”Green hydrogen”??? I smell a rat. The term “green” can be translated into “we have hidden all the fossil fuel inputs, pollution outputs, natural lands destruction and harmless CO2 emissions in our business model so that all people see are our waving hands and blue skies. Let’s assume the H2 is sourced form reactions driven by electricity from wind and solar – well the rare earth minerals, steel, concrete, plastics, electronics and all of the energy work going into making the windmills and solar panels are almost entirely derived from traditional mining, and energy intensive industry run on fossil fuels. Not to mention all the unaccounted costs of decommissioning and “recycling” (i.e burying) the residual materials at their premature end of life.

If they get to use the term “green” with their implied meaning then they must prove that there is no net use of fossil fuels and no real damage to air, water or land quality in the whole life cycle of this proposal. If they can’t prove that then they can get in line with all the other snake oil salespeople.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t assess the idea of dirigibles as transport vehicles for their own merit, but let’s not pretend they will bring the long extinct rainbow farting unicorns back to life.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
April 4, 2022 11:30 am

You’re right, Andy. They’re parasitic on the fossil fuel economy.

Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 11:04 am

green hydrogen

Amazing. After 30+ years in chemistry, I had no idea (!) that H₂ had a spectroscopic signature in the visible wavelengths.

Let’s see, a green color indicates absorbance around 410 nm. Where’s my spectrophotometer?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 11:46 am

I think ‘green hydrogen’ is located somewhere in the vicinity of ‘dilithium crystals’ within the Periodic Table. But I’ll defer to a real chemist.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2022 2:30 pm

Unobtainium comes to mind. 🙂

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 10:55 pm

Post of the day for this article.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2022 4:23 pm

Well, dilithium (Li2) does exist. I’m not sure whether it is at all possible to form a crystalline lattice from it, even with the appropriate temperature/pressure.

I’m quite certain, though, that there will never be dilithium “miners.”

Gunga Din
Reply to  writing observer
April 4, 2022 4:49 pm

“Not miners, minors!”
Right now the minors in Africa are too busy mining lithium to go go after dilithium.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  writing observer
April 4, 2022 7:13 pm

Thanks for the info. I’ll just have Scotty switch us over to the impulse drive…

Gunga Din
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 4, 2022 11:57 am

Well, if tax-payer subsidies are involved, that would explain the absorbance of $Green$.
The sky’s the limit!

Last edited 1 month ago by Gunga Din
Quelgeek
April 4, 2022 11:15 am

Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander is well advanced. They have demonstrated numerous problems and are by no means assured of success, but their effort is entirely credible. If the dirigible can be revived I won’t be surprised if it’s them who do it. https://www.hybridairvehicles.com

Richard Page
Reply to  Quelgeek
April 4, 2022 11:44 am

Oh, another shareholder?

Quelgeek
Reply to  Richard Page
April 4, 2022 12:24 pm

Nope, just a fan boy.

The Airlander is not just an artist’s impression or a prospectus. They have actually flown a prototype. It hit a number of serious problems. They’re doing real engineering to fix it and get certification. Who knows if they will be successful but it’s a real thing, hence my claim it is well advanced.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Quelgeek
April 4, 2022 2:31 pm

It’ll hit its stride as a luxury excursion vehicle for the very rich.

Richard Page
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 5, 2022 10:08 am

Flying versions of the oligarchs luxury yacht?

AndyHce
April 4, 2022 11:34 am

In principal, neither hydrogen, helium, nor anything else is needed for buoyancy. The trick would be to create a vessel that is both strong enough to withstand atmospheric pressure and still light enough to weigh significantly less than the air it displaces.

Last edited 1 month ago by AndyHce
Peter Fraser
April 4, 2022 12:08 pm

Green hydrogen burns explosively just as efficiently as any other type of hydrogen.

Gordon A. Dressler
April 4, 2022 12:52 pm

Those folks at H2 Clipper must have invented one hell of an efficient LH2 dewar for it to contain liquid hydrogen for 36 straight hours . . . either that, or they intend to take up most of the dirigible’s payload mass having an onboard, LH2-capable, cryogenic refrigeration plant.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 4, 2022 2:43 pm

H₂ melts at 14.3 K and boils at 20.4 K (PubChem). Why not store as solid hydrogen?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 5, 2022 2:12 pm

Fundamental reason for not storing as solid hydrogen is the fact that lower temperatures would be required for the typical range of tank pressure that would be used. See the attached simplified phase diagram for hydrogen.

For example, for a storage tank pressure of about 1 bar (~ sea-level atmospheric pressure), the temperature to maintain solid hydrogen would be about 5 K below the boiling point of liquid hydrogen. For a pressure of 10 bars (about 145 psia), the temperature to maintain solid hydrogen would be about 9 K below the boiling point of LH2 at this pressure.

Maintaining a liquid boiling point temperature is easy if one is willing to just let the hydrogen boiloff gas escape; maintaining a solid mass temperature will require active cooling given heat leaks into a less-than-perfect dewar container.

It is difficult and requires a lot of mass to build a refrigeration system capable of maintaining temperatures in the 10 to 20 K range for a relatively large mass (tens of kg , let’s say) of solid hydrogen.

Hydrogen_Phase_Diagram.jpg
Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Grant
April 4, 2022 1:08 pm

I imagine that weather is the biggest obstacle this will face. I suppose with current forecasting you could avoid the worst of it.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Grant
April 4, 2022 10:58 pm

Grant… you must have far more accurate forecasters in your area.

terrapod
April 4, 2022 3:01 pm

So where exactly do they plan to obtain sufficient Helium to provide lift? If they plan to use Hydrogen for lift, don’t think any pilots will be able to get health insurance. No matter how good the technology is, static electricity or other electric spark will be generated at some point and will be capable of setting off a conflagration.

max
April 4, 2022 4:11 pm

It may be 1/4 the coat of regular air freight, but I’m willing to bet it doesn’t fly at 1/4 the speed.

Joe
April 4, 2022 6:57 pm

Wow! Snap! Came up with a vaguely similar scheme with a few additional technology twists in the mid-90’s. An acquaintance of mine, who played cricket with Branson back then, offered to share the idea with him, but I was a little too paranoid to agree. If only…
I basically started with the question: What’s the “greenest” transportation system I can think of?” (other than a cargo sailboat of course). It was an LTA, with hydrogen fuel-cells, hydrogen lifting-gas, and a few other key “secret sauce” twists that may yet prove lucrative. 🙂

Craig from Oz
April 4, 2022 7:24 pm

$0.177 to $0.247 per ton

I was looking at these figures earlier on a different forum. Apparently these are 1/4 current freight costs, so as a semi educated guess and assuming the same profit margins the sell price to the customers will be 1/4 as well.

Not an expert in this field, but if these are the prices per ton and you have 170 tons to play with I am not immediately seeing a very impressive profit.

How long do we think these aircraft will return the investment to their owners?

(disclaimer – I LOVE airships, I am just pragmatic about them)

michel