• Sep 23rd 2011 at 10:00AM
  • 48
Based on the Bar-tailed Godwit, a bird that makes the longest known non-stop flight without even stopping to feed (7,258 miles – imagine that), the Lockheed Stratoliner is designed to be a go-anywhere jet that's fueled by hydrogen.

Oversized wings generate massive amounts of lift, allowing the William Brown-designed Stratoliner to fly at high altitudes in a "low-power state." Yanko Design describes the Stratoliner as a zero-emissions jet that can literally soar across the globe without refueling. The Stratoliner's four Cryogenic Hydrogen Turbofan engines provide the oomph, while its odd front end and split-tail design make it truly unique.

An official range for the Stratoliner is unlisted, so we haven't a clue as to whether or not the Stratoliner could complete a non-stop, round-the-world flight (24,901 miles) if it was ever built. Still, even if it only matches the flight of the bar-tailed Godwit, it'd still be one impressive machine.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      krisztiant
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds promising and by the time it would fly, probably the long-awaited suitably efficient hydrogen production will be ready too, or else, it really needs the Peter Pan method. That is: All it takes to fly is faith and trust. Oh! And something I forgot. [grabs Tinker Bell] ..a little bit of pixie dust.
        krisztiant
        • 3 Years Ago
        @krisztiant
        Maybe the efficient hydrogen production has already arrived: Penn State's team was able to extract hydrogen by reverse-electrodialysis (RED) -- a process that harvests energy from the ionic discrepancy between fresh and salt water. It proved to be about 58-64% energy efficient. This breakthrough demonstrates that "pure hydrogen gas can efficiently be produced from virtually limitless supplies of seawater and river water and biodegradable organic matter." http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/22/microbial-fuel-cell-produces-hydrogen-from-wastewater-without-wa/
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder how long it takes to someone notice that water vapor is stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.... Low fuel consumption is a good thing, if this flies without burning much fuel (any fuel) it is a good thing, it also looks like it is rather large, so it could provide comfortable flights.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo
        Water vapor is transient.
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          @Timo. Don't lie. Water falls out of the sky, we call it "rain". CO2 and methane don't "Aside from water vapor, which has a residence time of about nine days,[21] major greenhouse gases are well-mixed, and take many years to leave the atmosphere" People who care take the 20 minutes to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas#Role_of_water_vapor People who don't get to fail on both humor and science.
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          So is CO2. And Methane and pretty much anything we can push to the atmosphere.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo
        Sarcasm is a difficult thing here. Seems that there aren't any treehuggers here that go ballistic about greenhouse gases.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Ammonia fuel is a variation of hydrogen fuel. It is a molecule composed of one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of hydrogen. It has similar physical characteristics to propane; it is a gas at normal temperatures and atmospheric pressure but becomes liquid at higher pressure, about 150 pounds per square inch at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ability to become a liquid at moderate pressure allows ammonia to store more hydrogen per unit volume than compressed hydrogen or even cryogenic liquid hydrogen. In addition to providing a practical means to store and transport hydrogen, ammonia can be burned directly in internal combustion engines and direct-ammonia fuel cells....... .......The lower energy density, about half of that of gasoline on a gallon-per-gallon basis, makes ammonia suitable for short-range transportation but not for long-haul aviation, for example, because it would cut the range of the aircraft roughly in half, compared to conventional jet fuel....... .........The use of ammonia as transportation fuel became cost effective once gasoline broke the $3-barrier." http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2008/August/Pages/AlternativeFuelsTakingASecondLookatAmmonia.aspx
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Ammonia seems more likely to me as a jet fuel than cryogenically cooled hydrogen.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          I'd agree, except that ammonia has some problems, too. Ammonia is much more toxic than jet fuel or hydrogen, a major spill or accident could prove deadly. (It is very easy to detect even at sub-toxic levels, though.) Burning ammonia would produce considerable amounts of nitrous oxides, a major pollution problem. It would still have to be refrigerated to a liquid state for storage, though admittedly liquid ammonia is not nearly as cold as liquid hydrogen. Ammonia readily absorbs water, and can be somewhat corrosive - care would have to be taken to use ammonia-proof components. Liquified natural gas or liquified propane or liquified butane would all be better choices than ammonia, they have better energy density by weight and by volume, they're less toxic than ammonia, and would produce much less nitrous oxides.
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Years Ago
      There must be some unwritten law that passenger airliners must be long tubes with skinny wings. In general aviation and military aviation you see all sorts of shapes, but passenger airliners? Long tubes with skinny wings. The one passenger airliner that isn't a long tube with skinny wings, the Corcorde, was a business failure.
        Dan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        The laws are written, and they're known as the Laws of Physics. A passenger aircraft is essentially a large pressure vessel, and the shape of the cabin is designed to contain that pressure while being lightweight.
        mylexicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Build a flying wing. Sit in the window seat farthest from the roll axis. Get the barf bag ready.
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          :D Funny, but true. Didn't think of that.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Concorde had long tube as fuselage, triangle-shaped wings were like that because it was supersonic airplane. Long and narrow wings are for gliding in relatively slow speeds. Those are shapes dictated by laws of physics.
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      From the source, best comment: "awwww he made a pretty picture"
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very interesting- but I must throw our some facts regarding aerospace advancing in technology- in the 1920's we had biplanes, on July 15, 1954 the Boeing Dash 80 first flew- this was the prototype for an aircraft we now know as the 707. On October 25, 1958 the 707 carried its first paying passengers for Pan Am airlines. In 30 years we went from Ford Trimotor that cruised at 90mph, was unpressurized and often cold, carried 8-9 passengers, and had a range of approx 550 miles to the 707 with a cruise speed of 600mph, pressurized and climate controlled, had an initial range of 3800 miles carrying max load and 140 passengers. The means in both engineering and manufacturing to build this exist-the real question is whether we have the will to do so. This is a not just a leap, but a quantum jump from current production passenger aircraft. Politics aside, this could very easily be built in the lifetime of many of us. Who knows what hidden capacities and abilities we already have in our secret aviation arsenal? The fact that the 747 is still flying, and a viable aircraft 41 years after initial commercial service reinforces the point. Many predicted the failure of the aircraft before introduction , critics often cited that the 747 was too large a technical leap in both size and technology. We know the outcome, but it was often doubted and debated by critics, and competitors. So, we could do this- the real question is do we have the will to do so, and are the economics there to warrant it. The future favors the bold!
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      sort of clever yet dishonest to call it lockheed. lends credence to what is otherwise a straight from the rear claim. he could call it the flying pig. we might see hydrogen powered planes but I think it will be nuclear fusion
      ev_ftw
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you think the auto industry changes slowly, you should check out aerospace. The A380 program was started in the late 80s and was introduced twenty years later. It will then be flown with a variety of engine upgrades and junk for another 40 or 50 years. (The boeing 747 has been around since the sixties for example.) The chance of anyone alive today seeing an aircraft like the one in the article is zero.
        shinichi
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ev_ftw
        They might look similar, but there is a constant development. Like the Dreamliners carbon fuselage, or new generation engines. It's like comparing the latest 911 to the 20 years earlier modell. They look similar, but it's a different class.
      • 3 Years Ago
      just a small point the Stratoliner was the BOEING Model 307, the first commerical airliner with a pressurized cabin based on the B-17
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      "An official range for the Stratoliner is unlisted" @Eric Loveday and ABG writers: Get it through your thick heads that designer wank jobs are BY DEFINITION unofficial! And if it's on Yanko, it's a designer wank job; the stuff they feature doesn't even merit the term "design study".
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would I ever want to fly more than 1/2 around the world?
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Ok, Spec you may not. but oddly enough, there are those who realise there is world outside the USA. Like amtoro, I still miss Concord. Anything that can lessen the long flight from Australia to London, or Seoul, or NY, has got me cheering.
          krisztiant
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I'm sure Spec simply meant that: Title: Lockheed Stratoliner is a hydrogen-fueled jet with near-around-the-world range Spec: If you had to fly more than 1/2 around the world, you better pick the opposite way 'cause it's shorter, so nobody ever needs a jet with near-around-the-world range (including you). /humor
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Ah, yes...I see, thank you, sorry Spec, my mistake, just a late night humour by-pass! (but, I do miss Concord)
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        So you can bomb the crap out of a country and be home in time for dinner?
          atc98092
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          There's nothing in any of the links indicating that it flies any faster than a conventional jetliner. Don't think making dinner at home is an option.
        atc98092
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Spec is right, once you've gone half way around, it would have been closer (and faster) to come from the opposite direction. Of course, that means you have to have permission to fly over whatever country is on the course. Depending on the country, you might not want to overfly them!
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, hydrogen for airplanes. Im interrested in buying a ticket.
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