ZeroAvia has been granted a patent for a cryogenic fuel tank designed for retrofitting fossil-fuel-powered aircraft or purpose-built hydrogen aircraft. The tank features an aerodynamic design with adjustable elements, support pylons with sensors, and a nozzle/valve for safe jettisoning. GlobalData’s report on ZeroAvia gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on ZeroAvia, Fuel cell powered drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. ZeroAvia's grant share as of April 2024 was 23%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Cryogenic fuel tank with adjustable aerodynamics and jettison propulsion

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: ZeroAvia Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11958625B1) discloses a cryogenic fuel tank designed for aircraft, featuring an aerodynamically shaped outer surface with actively adjustable elements to modify aerodynamic characteristics. The tank includes a valve and nozzle for venting fuel if jettisoned, utilizing the expelled fuel for propulsion. Additionally, the tank can be attached below the aircraft's wings through support pylons equipped with sensors to measure forces and strain gauges to interpret signals for adjusting loads on the aircraft.

Furthermore, the cryogenic fuel tank includes dividers for multiple bays, a pumping system to control the center of gravity, and pressure relief devices for over-pressure situations. The patent also covers a controller for fuel venting control. The patent extends to an aircraft vehicle propelled by cryogenic fuel, specifically designed for hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft or retrofitted fossil-fuel-burning aircraft. The aircraft features the cryogenic fuel tank positioned below the wings, supported by pylons with additional features like ullage controls and gasifier heat exchangers. The tank is fixed to the pylons through integrally formed couplers with flow channels for fuel transfer to the power train, and hard point fittings for emergency jettisoning controlled by a dedicated controller.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.