Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s
first zero-emission commercial aircraft.
Each concept represents a different approach
to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology
pathways and aerodynamic configurations. All three rely on
hydrogen as a primary power source.
“This is a historic moment for the commercial
aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in
the most important transition this industry has ever seen. 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,”
said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. “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.”
The three concepts - all codenamed 'ZEROe' - include:
A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a
range of 2,000+ nautical miles, capable of operating
trans continentally 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 (pictured above).
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
an ideal option for short-haul trips (not pictured).
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 (pictured
“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 Guillaume 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.”
In order to tackle these challenges, airports will
require significant hydrogen transport and refueling
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.
Airbus says the three aircraft could enter service