Airbus Unveils Three Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft Concepts | World Defense

Airbus Unveils Three Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft Concepts


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Nov 17, 2017
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Airbus Unveils Three Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft Concepts
Airbus’ zero-emission concept aircraft will use hydrogen as their primary power source and could enter service by 2035

Airbus has unveiled three zero-emission commercial aircraft concepts which it said could enter service as soon as 2035.

Each concept represents a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations, but all of the concepts use hydrogen as a primary power source.

“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 climate impact,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.

The three concepts - all named “ZEROe” - 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


A turboprop 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 traveling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips.


A “blended-wing 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.

“These concepts will help us explore and mature the design and layout of the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft, which we aim to put into service by 2035,” said Faury.

“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.”

Airports will require significant hydrogen transport and refuelling infrastructure to meet the needs of day-to-day operations. Airbus said.

The manufacturer said that support from governments will be key with the need for increased funding for research and 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.