Development of a hydrogen-powered short- to medium-range aircraft

NASA/DLR Aero­nau­tics De­sign Chal­lenge 2021

DLR design for a hydrogen-powered aircraft
DLR de­sign for a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered air­craft
Image 1/2, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

DLR design for a hydrogen-powered aircraft

DLR de­sign for a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered air­craft.
DLR design for a hydrogen-powered aircraft
DLR de­sign for a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered air­craft
Image 2/2, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

DLR design for a hydrogen-powered aircraft

DLR de­sign for a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered air­craft.

As a student, use your own ideas to steer aeronautical engineering in new directions. Conceive designs for efficient, low-emission short- to medium-range aircraft that are powered by hydrogen and are as environmentally friendly as possible. This is the challenge that DLR is setting for students in Germany.

The air transport sector is and will continue to face enormous economic and environmental challenges over the coming years, and these require innovative and sustainable ideas and approaches. In cooperation with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is inviting students to design a hydrogen-powered short- to medium-range aircraft for 150 passengers, taking into account its effects on the atmosphere and including an overall energy analysis. Against the backdrop of the 'Green Deal' in the EU and the aviation and hydrogen strategies of the German government, the designs should take an in-depth approach to the challenging current issues in aircraft design, in order to shape the aeronautics technologies of the future with the participants' own ideas and visions. The organisers are actively seeking revolutionary new ideas. Join in by submitting your concept.

DLR sets the task for students in Germany. Interested students can register for the competition through their university supervisor by 14 March 2021. This year's task will be presented to all of the teams at a virtual kick-off event in March 2021. The background to the assignment will also be covered in greater depth at this point. Entrants then have until 18 July 2021 to develop their aircraft concepts and overall approach. These will be presented to DLR at a joint final event (either virtually or in person, if the COVID-19 situation allows), with the winning team selected by a jury. The jury will be made up of Professor Rolf Henke and the institute directors within DLR's aeronautics research field. If the COVID-19 situation and the regulations in force allow, all of the award-winning teams will also be able to present their designs to the national aeronautics research community at the German Aerospace Congress 2021. In addition, it is planned to give the winning German team the opportunity to present their design at a NASA Design Challenge Symposium, if it takes place.

The NASA/DLR Design Challenge 2021 is live. The challenge is:

To design a hydrogen-powered short- to medium-range aircraft for 150 passengers, taking its effects on the atmosphere into account and including an overall energy analysis.

Design specifications:

  • All of the critical systems must be designed with redundancy;
  • Hydrogen is to be used as the fuel (combustion and/or fuel cells). Batteries may be used for assistance;
  • DLR will provide the motor characteristics.
Number of passengers150
Passenger weight80 kg per passenger plus 25 kg baggage
Take-off field length (TOFL)<= 1700 m
Crew80 kg (flight deck and cabin)
Cruise speedMa = 0.7
Approach speed<= 130 kts
Range>= 2000 km
Diversion range200 NM
Altitude>= 3000 m
Entry into service (EIS)2035
FuelH2 / LH2
Design missions

1) 600 km, optimised for lowest climate impact

2) 2000 km, optimised for lowest climate impact and maximum cost-effectiveness

Jury:

The jury will select the winners based on independent opinions from experts.

  • Chair: Professor Rolf Henke
  • Members of the jury: Institute directors from DLR's aeronautics research field

Dates:

1 February 2021Pre-publication of the assignment
By 14 March 2021Registration via email to the supervising professor
18 March 2021Virtual kick-off meeting
April or May 2021Q&A session to answer questions about the assignment, held virtually
Submission 18 July 2021Draft competition reports in English (maximum 25 pages, may include content from the candidate’s own Bachelor’s and Master's theses)
End of AugustFinal meeting expected at DLR, presentation of work and announcement of the winning team – virtually or at an in-person event (COVID-19 permitting)
31 August – 2 September 2021Presentation of winning projects at the German Aerospace Congress in Bremen (COVID-19 permitting)
September/October 2021Participation of the winning team in NASA's Design Challenge Symposium (COVID-19 permitting)

NASA/DLR Aeronautics Design Challenge

DLR and NASA have been organising their aeronautics design challenge for students since 2017. Participants are expected to design aircraft that address the current challenges facing the air transport industry. All of the designs should have a coherent overall concept. Each year’s competition focuses on a different important topic.

Contact
  • Alexander Zakrzewski
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Aero­dy­nam­ics and Flow Tech­nol­o­gy
    Trans­port Air­craft
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig
    Contact
  • Fabian Lange
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Aero­dy­nam­ics and Flow Tech­nol­o­gy
    Trans­port Air­craft
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig
    Contact
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