An Emerging Generation of Airships
Designed for Cheaper, Cleaner Air Transport
A handful of aeronautics companies are developing a new generation of blimp-like hybrid airships
that they hope will provide an air cargo alternative to fuel-guzzling aircraft and revive an industry
A modern airship
undermined by the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. Utilizing advancements in structural design, materials, and engine technology, developers say the new, more durable airships will be able to carry large loads of freight at a fraction of the cost of conventional aircraft — and require significantly less fuel. Initially, the industry will target markets where highways and airports don’t exist — including remote parts of northern Canada and China’s western frontier — before attempting to penetrate more saturated freight markets. Within two years, U.S.-based Lockheed Martin aims to introduce for commercial use its prototype SkyTug, an airship with a 20-ton payload and a range of 1,000 nautical miles, according to a report in The Daily Climate. Unlike the ill-fated Hindenburg, which carried flammable hydrogen, modern airships carry helium, developers say. “And if all the engines quit, it won’t come down like an aluminum tube,” said Gil Costin, founder and CEO of Millennium Airship, Inc.
, a Washington-based firm that aims to launch a fleet of airships by 2020.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.