The Collaboration Developing Hydrogen Fuel Systems
Moog Aircraft in the UK, assisted by Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme grant funding, will lead a collaboration project helping to develop key technologies for future liquid hydrogen gas turbine fuel systems.
The project is targeting large commercial aircraft of the future and has the technical support of a major engine manufacturer, GE Aerospace.
This collaboration comprises the University of Bath/IAAPS, Cranfield University, Baker Hughes Druck, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, and Carter Manufacturing.
Together, the group will develop and demonstrate a fuel control system for aircraft hydrogen gas turbines together with non-fuel hydraulic electromechanical actuation systems for variable engine geometries.
Collaboration is key to amplifying sustainable aviation
Moog Aircraft is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and systems integrator of high-performance precision motion and fluid controls and controls systems.
Its high-performance systems control military and commercial aircraft, satellites, space vehicles, launch vehicles, defence systems, missiles, automated industrial machinery, and marine and medical equipment.
The company has a long history in aerospace with flight and engine controls and components on many large commercial aircraft, including Boeing 787, Airbus A350, and Embraer E2.
It is said that Moog Aircraft’s project team and product development will be based at its new £40 million base which opened in Tewkesbury earlier this year.
Mark Lawton, General Manager, Aircraft Controls Components Division, explained that the collaboration will help to boost the transition to a more sustainable aviation industry.
He said: “We are delighted to have pulled together such a strong group of companies to collaborate with on this important sustainable aviation initiative.”
Continuing, Mark highlighted that Moog Aircraft’s expertise will help to have the future in mind: “Moog has a great history of solving difficult technical challenges and our experience with engine fuel control valves and hydrogen positions us to develop the products required by a new generation of aircraft engines.”
Investment has been provided to grow the UK’s design competitiveness
With its research expertise in designing, simulating, and testing fluid systems and fluid control components, the University of Bath will support the project.
Hydrogen control technology will be tested at a unique facility to be built and operated by the University of Bath’s commercial subsidiary IAAPS Ltd. This new cross-industry, £70 million advanced propulsion research and innovation centre will be located at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.
The history of gas turbine performance engineering at Cranfield University dates back to 1946 when its forerunner, the College of Aeronautics, was created at the RAF station in Cranfield, in Bedfordshire.
Now, Cranfield is synonymous with aerospace, and its applied hydrogen research covers all aspects of the generation and use of fuel at airports and in aircraft.
In addition to this, Cranfield University is also the project coordinator of the EU H2020 ENABLEH2 project. The University will support this project with its existing experience in the modelling, performance assessment, and dynamic behaviour of the hydrogen fuel system.
The FETCH project is supported by the ATI Programme, a joint UK Government and industry investment to help maintain and grow the country’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacturing.
It is being delivered through a partnership between the ATI, the Department for Business and Trade, and Innovate UK. The aim of the programme is to address technology, capability, and supply chain challenges.
Going forward, Moog has revealed that it is aiming for the hydrogen fuel system testing to start in early 2026.
Collaborations like this one are essential in helping to accelerate the transition to more sustainable sectors, such as the aviation sector. Decarbonising sectors like this one are needed in order to reduce the country’s carbon emissions and help to futureproof.