Airbus Unveils New Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft Designs
According to a press release on September 21, Airbus presented three climate-neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft concepts whose main fuel source will be hydrogen. This in order to reduce the impact of commercial aviation on the global climate.
These concepts, codenamed ZEROe, could be put into service in 2035. By decarbonizing the industry, all three zero-emission aircraft designs could provide a solution to meet aviation’s climate-neutral goals.
Airbus’ commitment to the environment
Since the International Air Transport Association (IATA) blamed commercial aviation for 2-3 percent of global carbon emissions, in 2009, the industry defined three goals to address climate change: improve the fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent per year from 2009 to 2020, a cap on net carbon dioxide emissions from aviation and reduce net carbon dioxide emissions from aviation by 50 percent by 2050.
Airbus designed the turbofan that uses a modified gas turbine engine that runs on hydrogen through combustion. This will be suitable for flights over 2,000 nautical miles and 120-200 passengers. Liquid hydrogen is stored and distributed through tanks behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
For distances of 1,000 nautical miles and up to 100 passengers, Airbus created the turboprop design. This design also works with hydrogen combustion in modified gas turbine engines.
In the new designs, with capacity and reach similar to the turbofan, the concept of “combined wing body” is introduced, which changes the appearance of the aircraft by merging the main body with the wings.
“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most significant transition this industry has ever seen,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in a statement.
Faury said that these new concepts offer the world a glimpse of Airbus’ ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flights. It confirmed firmly believing that using hydrogen, for synthetic fuels and as a primary energy source for commercial aircraft, has the potential to significantly reduce the climate impact of aviation”.
According to the press release, airports need to have significant hydrogen transportation and refueling systems to support day-to-day operations in order to make Airbus concepts a reality. They also claim to need government support to retire outdated and less environmentally friendly aircraft and to be able to fund research and technology.
Guillaume Faury said, “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″.
“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,” he concludes.
Airbus is also innovating in the development of greener helicopters. Airbus Helicopters head of research and innovation, Tomasz Krysinski, stated in a press release that hydrogen technologies in helicopters could be available in 2029. However, Airbus is also working on many other innovations in addition to hydrogen power such as the “eco mode”.
It is important to see how the aviation industry engages in the innovations necessary to combat climate change and the impact on the environment. Airbus proposes some revolutionary designs to be able to continue traveling at the current pace in an “eco-friendly” way.
(Source: Aviation Today)