Airbus has revealed plans to produce the world’s first zero-emission commercial planes to run on hydrogen by 2035.
On Monday, The European aerospace company released three different airplanes concepts, each exploring a different approach to achieving zero-emission planes but all relying on hydrogen as a primary power source.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury states in the statement, that is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole, and they intend to play a leading role in the most important change this industry has ever seen.
The first idea could carry between 120 to 200 passengers across some 2,000 nautical miles.
Moreover, the turbofan layout would be power by a modified gas turbine engine running on hydrogen, instead of jet fuel, through combustion.
The next concept would be a turboprop design, carry up to 100 passengers over 1,000 nautical miles, while the third one, a ‘blended wing body’ design, would welcome up to 200 passengers for a 2,000 nautical miles.
So excited to have shared our #zeroe concept aircraft with you!
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— Airbus (@Airbus) September 21, 2020
Airbus EVP Engineering, Jean Brice Dumont states that ‘Hydrogen has a different volumetric energy density than jet fuel so they have to study other storage options and planes architectures than existing ones.’
He also adds, ‘This means the visual appearance of their future zero-emission airplanes will change.
‘These three configurations provide them with some exciting options for further exploration.’
Airbus engineers are to begin working on a hydrogen demonstrator programs over the coming months to examine hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen combustion technologies to have a full-scale airplanes prototype ready by the late 2020s.
According to the EU Commission, Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 2% of global emissions.
In 2020, global annual international flying emissions are around 70% higher than in 2005 and they could grow by a further 300% by 2050.
The ICAO estimates that it will be physically possible to meet 100% of international jet fuel demand with sustainable aviation fuels by 2050 and that this would correspond to a 63% reduction in emissions.