back to all Events

MI Hydrogen Seminar Series: Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft-Fundamental Concepts, Key Technologies, and Environmental Impacts

Event Type
Sustainable Systems Forum
Joaquim R.R.A. Martins, Ph.D.
MI Hydrogen
February 10, 202312:00pm - 1:00pm


Civil aviation generates as much economic activity as a country in the top ten countries by gross domestic product. However, the benefits come with damaging environmental effects. Society needs revolutionary aircraft technology to meet environmental goals and sustain the civil aviation industry. Hydrogen aircraft have the potential to fly existing routes with no carbon emissions and reduce or eliminate other emissions. In the long term, hydrogen aircraft appear to be the most compelling alternative to today's kerosene-powered aircraft. Using hydrogen also enables new technologies, such as fuel cells and superconducting electronics, which could lead to new aircraft that are not feasible with jet fuel. Hydrogen aircraft introduce novel technical and economic challenges. They appear technically feasible but require further development of hydrogen storage tanks, fuel systems, and propulsion technologies. Economically, government incentives or regulations are necessary to overcome the inertia of the risk-averse aerospace industry and make hydrogen aircraft appealing to airlines.


Joaquim R.R.A. Martins

Joaquim R. R. A. Martins is the Pauline M. Sherman Collegiate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he heads the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Laboratory. He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. His research group develops MDO methods and applies them to the design of aircraft and other engineering systems. He is a co-author of "Engineering Design Optimization", a textbook published by Cambridge University Press. Prof. Martins is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Before joining the University of Michigan faculty in 2009, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. From 2002, he held a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Multidisciplinary Optimization. He received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College, London, with a British Aerospace Award. He obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, where he was awarded the Ballhaus prize for best thesis in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the Best Paper Award at AIAA Conferences five times. He has served as Associate Editor for the AIAA Journal, Optimization and Engineering, and Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization. He is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Aircraft.