Airbus Plans Hydrogen-Powered Commercial Aircraft by 2035
The hydrogen-powered concept aircraft can reduce aircraft emissions by up to 50%
Airbus, a Netherland-based multinational aerospace company, has announced its plans to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.
According to its statement, the company is currently working on three concept designs for hydrogen-powered aircraft equipped with zero-emission technology, which can reduce aircraft’s emissions by up to 50%.
“As recently as five years ago, hydrogen propulsion was not even on our radar as a viable emission-reduction technology pathway, but convincing data from other transport industries quickly changed all that. Today, we are excited by the incredible potential hydrogen offers aviation in terms of disruptive emission reduction,” Glenn Llewellyn, Vice President of Airbus, Zero-Emission Aircraft.
The company has plans to launch several hydrogen demonstrator programs to test hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen combustion technology in the upcoming months. It is expected to launch the ZEROe aircraft program by 2025, while a full-scale aircraft prototype is anticipated to come up by the late 2020s.
Airbus said that its three zero-emission hydrogen hybrid concept aircraft are equipped with modified-gas turbine engines and hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells are utilized to generate electric power that supports the modified-gas turbine engines to burn liquid hydrogen fuel to power the aircraft.
The company stated that each concept aircraft has different methods to integrate liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system according to its designs. The Turbofan concept aircraft is equipped with two hybrid hydrogen turbofan engines that provide thrust, while liquid hydrogen storage and a distribution system are located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
The Turboprop concept aircraft is equipped with two hybrid hydrogen turboprop engines to drive six-bladed propellers which provide thrust to aircraft. While the Blended-Wing Body concept aircraft has two hybrid hydrogen engines like the other two aircraft, its wide interior offers several options for liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system.
In India, on its 70th Republic Day celebrations last year, the Indian Air Force led the way towards a greener future by utilizing biofuel for its aircraft during the fly-past ceremony.
Harsh Shukla is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.