‘Hypersonic jet of the future’ was touted to fly at Mach 4 and run on seaweed

  • The Zero Emission Hypersonic Transport is a futuristic aviation concept
  • It could be capable of traveling at Mach 4
  • That would slash journey times around the world dramatically

Published on Jun 05, 2024 at 1:37 PM (UTC+4)
by Ben Thompson

Last updated on Jun 05, 2024 at 9:18 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

ZEHST – the hypersonic jet of the future

A Mach 4 capable hypersonic jet dubbed the Zero Emission Hypersonic Transport (ZEHST) was unveiled at the Paris Air Show a few years ago, and it could be a serious leap forward in aviation.

This incredible concept plane has been touted as the ‘hypersonic jet of the future’

Well, kind of.

The ZEHST concept was unveiled by EADS – the parent company of Airbus – at a staging of the Paris Air Show, setting tongues wagging.

Not only will this jet fly at Mach 4 (Four times the speed of sound) it will also run primarily on seaweed biofuel.

What will ZEHST be capable of?

Flying 20 miles above the Earth, this 100-passenger will dust off an eight-hour flight from New York City to London in a mere hour.

Three types of engines are put to use in the ZEHST concept.

Rocket engines will be used for flights high in the atmosphere.

Ramjet engines – typically used in missiles – will boost the plane’s speeds to over 3,000 mph.

And the third set of engines? Conventional jet engines for take-off and landing.

If you’re looking forward to crossing the Atlantic before you can even finish the on-flight movie, don’t get too excited.

It’s going to be a good long whilst before this jet is going to be in the skies.

Despite being unveiled a while back, we’re still a long way from taking a Mach 4 afternoon out on Tokyo, and there’s a lot of thinking to be done by very clever people before we’re having lunch in London and then flying back to New York for dinner.

EADS has said that the plane won’t be ready for another 40 years, whilst admitting that some of the tech needed to make it a reality is still in development.

Let’s just say, the passengers of 2064 are going to be very very lucky.


Ben Thompson

Ben got his start in journalism at Kennedy News and Media, writing stories for national newspapers, websites and magazines. Now working as a freelancer, he divides his time between teaching at News Associates and writing for news sites on all subjects.