Airbus presents designs for hydrogen-powered planes
Airbus blended-wing body design for ZEROe climate-neutral commercial aircraft. Image by Airbus (www.airbus.com)
European airliner manufacturer Airbus SE (EPA:AIR) on Monday unveiled three concepts for hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft saying that the world’s first zero-emission planes could start flying by 2035.
The three ZEROe concepts “offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight”, said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.
This ambition includes concepts for aircraft with a turbofan engine capable of carrying 120-200 passengers for over 2,000 nautical miles (3,704 km/2,302 miles) and a turboprop engine plane that could fit up to 100 passengers and travel more than 1,000 nautical miles.
The most visually striking of the three is the third “blended-wing body” design, which merges the wings with the main body of the aircraft. The plane would have the transcontinental range of the turbofan concept with room for up to 200 passengers.
Next up for Airbus will be to validate these concepts and assess whether they could be matured into viable future products.
The jet maker highlighted that the transition to hydrogen would require support from governments in the form of increased funding for research and technology, digitalisation, and mechanisms that stimulate the use of sustainable fuels and aircraft fleet renewal.
For the new type of aircraft to gain traction, airports will have to be retrofitted to incorporate hydrogen transport and refuelling infrastructure, while renewable energy and hydrogen production will need to scale up, the company said.
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