The HUULC, Design of a Hydrogen-powered Unmanned Ultra Large Cargo aircraft

Globalisation in the 21st century has led to a dramatic increase in demand for transportation of goods across the

For intercontinental distances, two modes of transportation dominate the market: maritime transport and air freight transport. Maritime transport is slow but has a low cost, while air cargo is traditionally more expensive but more reliable and much faster. This means that air cargo is used for time-sensitive and high value goods, while maritime transport is used for lower value, less time-sensitive and bulk goods.

The aim of the HUULC is to alter this market with a new ultra-large aircraft. This aircraft should be able to compete with maritime freighter transport in order to obtain a portion of the market share from maritime transport.

The task of Team HUULC of the Design Synthesis Exercise is to develop a feasible design for the HUULC to meet the given requirements, under the following mission statement: \Team HUULC will design the HUULC, a freighter aircraft that will pioneer in sustainable high capacity air transport, competitive with maritime cargo shipping from 2030 onwards”.

Sustainability is a key design driver for the HUULC project. Current long distance transport options rely on fossil fuels to provide propulsion. It is thought that the global maritime shipping industry is responsible for 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions [1]. The HUULC however, is to be powered by hydrogen fuel that does not emit any  greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the hydrogen will be produced with sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar energy.
This Report is intended to be a standalone document that outlines all the design processes, design options and operational planning and costs.

This Final Report is structured as follows: rstly, the position of the HUULC in the freight transport market is analysed in Chapter 2 after which the mission is discussed and requirements are de ned in Chapter 3. The network the HUULC should serve is outlined next in Chapter 4, after which Chapter 5 allocates the available budget to the different HUULC design aspects. The design is discussed in Chapter 6 starting with preliminary con guration design followed up by aerodynamic models, propulsion systems and structural characteristics.

Subsequently weight & balance and stability & control are presented. The subsystems that make up the HUULC, as well as integrated design and a riskmap conclude Chapter 6. HUULC speci c operational characteristics follow with Chapter 7 on unmanned operations, Chapter 8 presents the design for the airports that make up the HUULC network and Chapter 9 proposes a hydrogen strategy speci ed per airport. Chapter 10 discusses the costs for every aspect of the project and the sustainable development strategy describes the sustainable elements of the HUULC program in Chapter 11. The performance of the HUULC design with respect to the requirements and further planning  of the project are presented in Chapter 12 and 13, respectively. The report is concluded and recommendations are given in Chapter 14 and a summary is given in Chapter 15.

Download the report here.


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