Bristol Spaceplanes has conducted a successful strap down test firing of a hydrogen peroxide demonstrator (HPD). This engine will be part of the Ascender rocket engine which will be propelling space tourists into low earth orbit within the next 1 to3 years.
The exhaust from hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is steam and oxygen. Now, it’s no secret that NASA has used liquid hydrogen as a propellant for years. NASA has also reportedly been doing some of its own R&D with hydrogen peroxide.
And, on this blog I’ve talked about using hydrogen peroxide as a current and potential future fuel to be used in cars, racecars, jetpacks, spaceplanes and airplanes.
In fact, hydrogen peroxide is routinely used in some racecars and jetpacks. Also it has been used in one Chinese car the Habo Number 1. The problems with hydrogen peroxide are that it is difficult to handle safely and it has been long thought of as a short-term propellant rather than a long-term fuel.
For instance, the hydrogen peroxide you have in your medicine cabinet is about 10 percent hydrogen peroxide and 90-percent water. On the other end of the spectrum is the fuel grade hydrogen peroxide, which is 90-percent plus H2O2.
In relation to using hydrogen peroxide to power planes, trains and automobiles, this is a much under-researched area. The perception of H2O2 is that it has to be used to power large, powerful machinery.
But, in August 2007, I had talked about how hydrogen peroxide was being used to power a bionic arm. That fact is the fuel is clean burning, with no greenhouse gases emitted, can be transported as a liquid and must be considered as a clean fuel candidate going forward. Getting the money to do R&D on H2O2 and changing public perception, however, may be the biggest challenges.