Helping the UK’s Jet-Zero Ambitions: New Consortium formed to Develop Liquid Hydrogen Tank Technology for Zero Emission Aviation
- AETHER is a new project funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), bringing together a consortium of UK-based SMEs and RTOs.
- The £1.4m project will result in new advanced engineering and manufacturing jobs and deliver on the UK’s Net-Zero emissions by 2050 pledge.
FARNBOROUGH, England – A new project led by aerospace manufacturing specialists, TISICS, aims to develop lightweight components to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation sector. This project focuses on hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel for commercial aircraft to help the UK deliver its pledge for Net Zero emissions by 2050.
AETHER, co-funded by the ATI Programme, brings together a consortium of UK-based SMEs and research organisations with over thirty years of experience and expertise in materials, manufacturing, design, computational modelling, testing and product safety.
AETHER is collaboration between TISICS, M.Wright & Sons, OXECO and the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE), who aim to develop scalable manufacturing methods capable of delivering large liquid hydrogen storage tanks for future aircraft.
Sustainable aviation is critical if the UK is to succeed in its net zero ambitions and ensure the UK leads the introduction of hydrogen powered aircraft. Estimates show that hydrogen combustion reduces in-flight climate impact by between 50-75% and fuel-cell propulsion by 75-90%.
AETHER aims to overcome the challenges faced by conventional materials when storing cryogenic hydrogen for long-service in aircraft. The project will develop scalable technology, optimising the use of different material systems to meet the functional needs of tanks for long-term, safe aviation use and provide the UK with unique opportunities to generate advanced tank manufacturing technologies with worldwide markets.
Developing this technology in the UK enhances the country’s existing aerospace industry and export market potential, creating new advanced engineering and manufacturing jobs to fulfil the UK’s commitment to a net zero future.
“AETHER is a differentiating solution for the UK, which the ATI is pleased to support,” said Prof Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer for the ATI. “TISICS and its consortium partners are developing a unique capability – one that is being applied to solve a significant challenge for hydrogen fuel storage systems. Their high-performance material solution will deliver much improved weight efficiency, and play an important role in making hydrogen-powered aircraft a reality.”
Stephen Kyle-Henney, Managing Director, TISICS Limited said: “We’re excited to combine world-leading expertise in multi-material coatings, 3D woven composites, advanced modelling and net shape manufacture to tackle the challenge of delivering future lightweight hydrogen propulsion systems. AETHER has the opportunity to create the fundamental building blocks that can accelerate the adoption of hydrogen powered systems manufacturing in the UK.”
Professor Angelo Maligno, Professor of Composite Materials and Project Lead at the University of Derby, said: “We look forward to collaborating with our partners on this project to improve the reliability of materials and inform standards that guide development and use of hydrogen technologies. “The team is enthusiastic to contribute to this research on storage systems for liquid hydrogen, which will have a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint in aviation.”
About the ATI Programme
The ATI Programme is a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme, delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges.
About TISICS Ltd
TISICS is a privately held SME based in Farnborough, established in 2005 to develop a new class of materials and manufacturing technologies to help solve some of the world's toughest engineering challenges. TISICS is committed to widening the adoption of advanced materials which hold the key to using Earth’s resources more efficiently and expanding our horizons in the stars.
OXECO is a chemistry technology (chemtech) company that designs, develops, and manufactures surface treatments for the transport and clean technology sectors. The company’s innovative technology platform controls the way that surfaces behave using cutting-edge carbene chemistry. This technology was born in the University of Oxford’s Department of Chemistry and developed over more than two decades. Privately held, the company is an evolution of Oxford Advanced Surfaces (OAS).
About M. Wright & Sons
Founded in 1860, M. Wright & Sons are a family owned business specialising in narrow fabric webbing manufacture and development. Supplying a global client base from Quorn Village in the heart of England, M. Wright & Sons long established heritage in supplying webbings, tapes and elastics has enabled innovation in a diverse range of narrow fabric applications in the Aerospace, Automotive, Sports, Medical and Marine industries. Since 2006 M Wright & Sons Ltd has worked to developed 3d woven shaped fabric for the composite aerospace and automotive sector. Based on the successful development of these fabrics M Wright & Sons Ltd has embraced the challenge that Aether project offers.
About Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering, University of Derby
The Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) at the University of Derby, a self-contained campus at Lonsdale House, was founded in 2014 as a strategic investment by the University of Derby to deliver impact to business in the region and nationally. IISE specialises in developing sustainable life-cycle design and manufacturing processes for products, serving a range of sectors from transport to healthcare to help reduce their environmental impact. IISE offers collaborative innovation and research using a range of equipment for design, manufacture and testing, supported by specialist expertise to include advanced manufacturing, computational modelling of materials and structures, life cycle management and data science.