The Potential of Liquid Hydrogen as a Military Aircraft Fuel,
RAND CORP WASHINGTON D C
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Liquid hydrogen does not appear to be attractive as a military aircraft fuel for the immediate future. In a wide variety of mission applications, liquid hydrogen is less cost-effective and less energy-effective than the available alternative. Indications are that synthetic jet-fuel is the most attractive alternative fuel for very large airplanes. At the least, this conclusion appears valid until coal reserves are substantially depleted. Even for relatively high growth rates in coal consumption, domestic coal production is not likely to peak much before the second quarter of the 21st century. This conclusion is substantially strengthened when one realizes that airplanes using a conventional jet-fuel have the potential for a much greater payoff from advances in fuel-conserving aircraft technology. Furthermore, these conclusions prevailed despite our favorable assumptions toward liquid hydrogen in several important instances e.g., aerial refueling. In summary, there is little, if any, potential for liquid hydrogen as a fuel for aircraft entering the Air Force inventory between now and the end of the century.