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May 9 / Jonathan

Travelling Light

George Monbiot, in a nice piece on airships, points out a neat solution to the problem of hydrogen fuel storage:

Traveling Light
Even when burning fossil fuels, the total climate-changing impact of an airship, according to researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, is 80-90% smaller than that of ordinary aircraft. But the airship is also the only form of transport which can easily store hydrogen: you could inflate a hydrogen bladder inside the helium balloon. There might be a neat synergy here: one of the problems with airships is that they become lighter – and therefore harder to control – as the fuel is consumed. In this case they become heavier. Michael Stewart of the company World SkyCat suggests burning both gaseous and liquid hydrogen to keep the weight of the craft constant.

I like the idea of airships as an alternative to ground transport–cars, trucks, rail. If you’ve ever traveled a significant distance by small plane, you know that the scenic opportunities are vastly better than high-altitude airliner travel. And of course no roads or rails are required.

Book me a ticket.

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