Design of a reconfigurable liquid hydrogen fuel tank for use in the Genii unmanned aerial vehicle
MetadataShow full item record
Long endurance flight, on the order of days, is a leading flight performance characteristic for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Liquid hydrogen (LH2) is well suited to providing multi-day flight times with a specific energy 2.8 times that of conventional kerosene based fuels. However, no such system of LH2 storage, delivery, and use is currently available for commercial UAVs. In this paper, we develop a light weight LH2 dewar for integration and testing in the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell powered, student designed and constructed, Genii UAV. The fuel tank design is general for scaling to suit various UAV platforms. A cylindrical vacuum-jacketed design with removable end caps was chosen to incorporate various fuel level gauging, pressurizing, and slosh mitigation systems. Heat and mechanical loadings were modeled to compare with experimental results. Mass performance of the fuel tank is characterized by the fraction of liquid hydrogen to full tank mass, and the insulation performance was characterized by effective thermal conductivity and boil-off rate.