Airbus reveals three zero-emission concept aircraft
Airbus on Monday 21 Sep revealed three concepts for the world’s
first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035.
All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source
- an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as clean aviation
fuel and is likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to
meet their climate-neutral targets..
Guillaume Faury, chief executive officer, Airbus, said, “The
concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a
bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight. I strongly believe that the
use of hydrogen - both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for
commercial aircraft - has the potential to significantly reduce aviation's
The three concepts - all codenamed “ZEROe” - for a first
climate-neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft include:
A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+
nautical miles, capable of operating transcontinentally and powered by a
modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through
combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed via tanks
located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
design (up to 100 passengers) using a turboprop engine instead of a turbofan
and also powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines, which
would be capable of travelling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a
perfect option for short-haul trips.
body” design (up to 200 passengers) concept in which the wings merge with the
main body of the aircraft with a range similar to that of the turbofan concept.
The exceptionally wide fuselage opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage
and distribution, and for cabin layout.
“The transition to
hydrogen, as the primary power source for these concept planes, will require
decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem. Together with the support
from government and industrial partners, we can rise up to this challenge to
scale-up renewable energy and hydrogen for the sustainable future of the
aviation industry,” said Faury.
Airports will require significant hydrogen transport and refuelling
In order to tackle
these challenges, airports will require significant hydrogen transport and
refuelling infrastructure to meet the needs of day-to-day operations. Support
from governments will be key to meet these ambitious objectives with increased
funding for research & technology, digitalisation, and mechanisms that
encourage the use of sustainable fuels and the renewal of aircraft fleets to
allow airlines to retire older, less environmentally friendly aircraft earlier.