Airbus to test hydrogen-fueled engine on A380 jet

Airbus just moved one step closer to launching the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. The French aircraft maker has announced plans to test hydrogen fuel technology using a modified version of one of its A380 jetliners, which were discontinued last year. Airbus has partnered with CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, on the hugely significant hydrogen demonstration program.

The plane manufacturer will use an “A380 flying testbed fitted with liquid hydrogen tanks” to trial propulsion technology for its future hydrogen aircraft.
According to Llewellyn, the aim of the “flight laboratory” is to learn more about hydrogen propulsion systems in real ground and flight conditions, thus enabling Airbus to press on with its plans for a zero-emission aircraft in just over a decade.
Test flights are currently estimated to take place in 2026, provided everything goes to plan. The news comes over a year after Airbus unveiled three hydrogen-based concepts under the ZEROe banner.
“This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts back in September 2020,” Sabine Klauke, chief technical officer for Airbus, said in a statement.
By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making zero-emission flight a reality.”
Aviation generates 2.8% of global CO2 emissions the global fuel consumption by commercial airlines reached 95 billion gallons in 2019.
The global aviation industry has pledged to slash emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050.
A number of air carriers are moving towards sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in order to help reduce the environmental impact of flying, with British Airways‘ parent company IAG revealing plans to power 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030 and United Airlines completing its first successful flight by 100% sustainable fuel last year.
However, Airbus is hedging its bets on hydrogen, which can potentially reduce aviation’s carbon emissions by up to 50%, according to the airplane manufacturer.


Airbus Reveals Hydrogen Aircraft For 2033

Airbus has unveiled conceptual designs for a potential zero-emission commercial aircraft, which it believes could be developed for service entry in the next 15 years. All three of the preliminary designs – branded as ‘ZEROe’ aircraft – would use hydrogen as the main power sourceAirbus’s most radical proposition is a blended-wing body concept, seating up to 200 passengers, which would have a range of up to 2,000nm (3700 km). It has also shown off a more conventional-looking turbofan idea – with a similar range – which would be fitted with modified hydrogen-fuelled gas-turbine combustion engines. This concept would involve storing liquid hydrogen in tanks behind the aft pressure bulkhead. Its third proposal is a 100-seat turboprop, also using modified gas turbines, able to operate over a range of at least 1,000nm. Airbus says hydrogenholds exceptional promise” as a fuel for zero-emission transport.

It is likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets,” it adds. The airframer claims the aircraft outlined could potentially enter service by 2035 – a date which has been suggested by the French government for development of highly-efficient regional aircraft and an Airbus A320 successor. These targets had been included in a recent €15 billion aid package from the French government to the country’s aeronautical sector. Its strategy, based on improved fuel consumption and examining the potential of zero-emission hydrogen-based technology, suggests an initial demonstrator could be produced by 2026-28 and enter service in 2033-35.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury says the concepts offer a “glimpse of our ambition” to “drive a bold vision” for 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 climate impact,” he adds. But he warns that, for such designs to be validated and eventually materialise, the transition to hydrogen power will require “decisive action from the entire aviation eco-system”. “In order to tackle these challenges, airports will require significant hydrogen transport and refuelling infrastructure to meet the needs of day-to-day operations,” adds Airbus, pointing out that government support to meet the objectives will be essential.


Blended Wing Aircraft Cuts Fuel Consumtion Up To 20%

Following a series of secret tests, Airbus has revealed a futuristic “blended wing” commercial aircraft design that promises to cut fuel consumption up to 20%.
The French aircraft maker rolled out a model of the small-scale, remote-controlled aircraft demonstrator it’s been using to test the design at the Singapore Air Show 2020 on Tuesday.

This “blended wing body” demonstrator is called MAVERIC — which stands for Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls — and is two meters long and 3.2 meters wide.

Testing has reportedly been underway since June 2019 but the project, which launched in 2017, was kept under wraps until this month.
According to Airbus, MAVERIC helps accelerate understanding of new aircraft configurations and matures the technology necessary to fly such a radically different aircraft.
What’s so special about this aerodynamicblended wing body“? In addition to the environmental benefit — approximately 20% less fuel burn compared to current single-aisle models with the same engine — Airbus says the plane’s unusual and spacious configuration opens up new possibilities for cabin design.
To prove this point, it also released a series of design renderings showing what passengers onboard a blended wing aircraft might be in for. Noise would likely be reduced too, due to the plane’s “shieldedengine, which is mounted above the central body.
Airbus is leveraging emerging technologies to pioneer the future of flight,” says Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice president of engineering at Airbus, in a statement announcing the new design.
By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products.”