Cryogenic hydrogen propulsion is at the core of Beauthyfuel's green aviation project

Cryogenic hydrogen propulsion is at the core of Beauthyfuel's green aviation project
Courtesy of Elexir Aircraft

Embracing new environmentally friendly propulsion, Elixir Aircraft is preparing to fly a two-seat turboprop-powered version of its Elixir light aircraft. Turbotech says it has developed a family of eco-friendly engines that include the 140-horsepower TP-90 engine for the single-engine model. Additionally, Elixir is supporting a cryogenic hydrogen propulsion system for light aircraft.

The BeautHyFuel program focuses on this concept. An initial 40-month project was launched at the Paris Air Show in 2019 and will receive funding from the France Relance Covid-19 economic recovery plan of €3.6 million ($3.5 million). CORAC civil aviation research council is responsible for this project.

The BeautHyFuel consortium also includes Air Liquide, which will design and supply the hydrogen fuel tank. Turbotech and Elixir will supply the testbed for the first flight in 2023. Safran and Daher, larger French aerospace companies with ambitions to incorporate green aviation technology, support the trio in a consultancy capacity.

Courtesy of AOPA

In the interim, the company argues that synthetic kerosene-powered TP-90 engines may be able to provide an interim solution. Avgas and mogas are scheduled to be phased out of general aviation aircraft fuel as a result of the global quest to de-carbonize aviation. Those engines are powered by 912iS/915iS Rotax motor gasoline.

“Fuel like this doesn't have a long-term future, so we are developing an alternative for our customers,” the company's cofounder told Rich Report.

A key component of the TP-90 will be the Elixir testbed. Bristell B23 and JMB VL3 Evolution light sport aircraft have already been tested with another version of the engine.

A test aircraft is expected to be built using the first TP-90 delivered to Elixir in the coming months. In terms of performance, Turbotech claims the new turbine is similar to the Rotax engines, though it is a little thirstier.

Its use on the Elixir alters the mass and balance of the aircraft, but that is not necessary to redesign the TP-90, even though it is 50 centimeters (20 inches) longer than its piston engine stablemate.

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