Using the jet stream for sustainable airship and balloon transportation of cargo and hydrogen

Julian David Hunt, Edward Byers, Abdul Lateef Balogun, Walter Leal Filho, Angeli Viviani Colling, Andreas Nascimento, Yoshihide Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The maritime shipping sector is a major contributor to CO2 emissions and this figure is expected to rise in coming decades. With the intent of reducing emissions from this sector, this research proposes the utilization of the jet stream to transport a combination of cargo and hydrogen, using airships or balloons at altitudes of 10–20 km. The jet streams flow in the mid-latitudes predominantly in a west–east direction, reaching an average wind speed of 165 km/h. Using this combination of high wind speeds and reliable direction, hydrogen-filled airships or balloons could carry hydrogen with a lower fuel requirement and shorter travel time compared to conventional shipping. Jet streams at different altitudes in the atmosphere were used to identify the most appropriate circular routes for global airship travel. Round-the-world trips would take 16 days in the Northern Hemisphere and 14 in the Southern Hemisphere. Hydrogen transport via the jet stream, due to its lower energy consumption and shorter cargo delivery time, access to cities far from the coast, could be a competitive alternative to maritime shipping and liquefied hydrogen tankers in the development of a sustainable future hydrogen economy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management: X
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-18


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