Google co-founder Sergey Brin building $150M airship for world disaster relief


Blue sky thinking! Google co-founder Sergey Brin builds world’s largest aircraft for $150M as a family ‘yacht’

  • Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s company could build a massive airship
  • Reports suggest it will measure 656ft and cost the billionaire $150 million
  • Brin initially wanted to build an ‘air yacht’ but is now using it for disaster relief 
  • It will be powered by a massive hydrogen cell when completed 
  • A prototype called Pathfinder 1 is nearly complete and could fly this year 

Google‘s co-founder Sergey Brin is shifting his focus from technology to aviation, with plans to build the world’s largest airship to assist with disaster relief worldwide.

The billionaire’s company LTA Research and Exploration is reportedly aiming to build a massive 656-foot-long craft powered by an ‘equally record-breaking’ hydrogen fuel cell.

Brin initially envisioned it as a luxurious ‘air yacht,’ but is now using the $150 million it will cost to construct a floating ship for humanitarian efforts that is intended as a zero emissions aircraft.

LTA is said to have constructed a working prototype dubbed ‘Pathfinder 1’ that could take to the skies over Silicon Valley as soon as this year, Tech Crunch reports.

According to a 2019 registration of Pathfinder 1 with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airship will be powered by 12 electric motors and the ability to transport 14 people inside.

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News of Brin’s idea first surfaced in 2017, but the airship was initially for him and his family to jet set around the world.

But it seems Brin has had a change of heart and will use his resources, and money, to help save the world when natural disasters strike.

LTA states that it will use the airships ‘to improve humanitarian aid delivery and reduce carbon emissions, while providing economic opportunity and new jobs to Americans.’

And the firm’s goal is to create a fleet of the airships.

The billionaire's company LTA Research and Exploration is reportedly aiming to build a massive 656-foot-long craft powered by an 'equally record-breaking' hydrogen fuel cell. Pictured is an image from a registration of the airship with the FAA

The billionaire’s company LTA Research and Exploration is reportedly aiming to build a massive 656-foot-long craft powered by an ‘equally record-breaking’ hydrogen fuel cell. Pictured is an image from a registration of the airship with the FAA

According to a 2019 registration of Pathfinder 1 with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airship will be powered by 12 electric motors and the ability to transport 14 people inside

According to a 2019 registration of Pathfinder 1 with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airship will be powered by 12 electric motors and the ability to transport 14 people inside

Not only can the design ship goods nearly anywhere, it produces 80 to 90 percent fewer emissions than traditional planes.

Sources told The Guardian this month that it is ‘going to be massive on a grand scale,’ along with sharing it could be about 650 feet long and could cost the billionaire up to $150 million to complete – but Brin’s net worth currently sits at around $86 billion.

Brin’s airship would be the world’s largest present-day aircraft, but falls short of the infamous Hindenburg Zeppelin from the 1930s that measured 804 feet.

The Pathfinder 1 does pulls inspiration from Zeppelin, with similar components in its passenger area.

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But unlike the ill-fated Zeppelin that went up in flames in 1937, Brin’s prototype uses non-flammable helium for its lifting gas, according to TechCrunch.

Brin's airship would be the world's largest present-day aircraft, but falls short of the infamous Hindenburg Zeppelin from the 1930s that measured 804 feet.u00A0But unlike the ill-fated Zeppelin that went up in flames in 1937, Brin's prototype uses non-flammable helium for its lifting gas

Brin’s airship would be the world’s largest present-day aircraft, but falls short of the infamous Hindenburg Zeppelin from the 1930s that measured 804 feet. But unlike the ill-fated Zeppelin that went up in flames in 1937, Brin’s prototype uses non-flammable helium for its lifting gas

Brin initially envisioned it as a luxurious 'air yacht,' but is now using the $150 million to construct a floating ship for humanitarian efforts (stock)

Brin initially envisioned it as a luxurious ‘air yacht,’ but is now using the $150 million to construct a floating ship for humanitarian efforts (stock)

A job posting on LTA’s website reveals plans to  build a 1.5-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system, which combines fuel cells with hydrogen and oxygen to produce water and electricity, and are often compared to batteries.

Pathfinder 1 will use hydrogen fuel cells that Professor Dr. Josef Kallo says will allow it to travel nearly 1,000 miles.

‘Functionality wise, there is no showstopper to using a hydrogen fuel cell,’ Kallo said. ‘The challenge is to find someone who can afford not to look at the business case, because I don’t think it works out from an economic perspective. Maybe Sergey Brin can afford to do that.’

Although LTA has yet to share images of its Pathfinder 1, SF Gate suggests it is about the same size as the 246-foot-long Zeppelin NT that was used to transport tourists around Germany and Switzerland.



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