- Airbus All have unveiled three new concept aircraft that will use hydrogen as fuel.
- Airplanes developed by Airbus by 2035 and planned to enter commercial service will be zero pollution. Airbus is convinced that it can really come true.
- Take a look at three new hydrogen powered airplanes.
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Making air travel truly sustainable is one of the biggest challenges facing the aviation and aerospace industries. For every positive action taken by the industry as a whole, the growing demand for air travel has essentially denied progress.
Now Airbus says it is ready for the next big leap forward.
Hydrogen is a relatively new aviation alternative fuel concept. Until recently, most low-emission and zero-emission aircraft concepts focused on electricity, but
According to most estimates, the aviation industry contributes 2-3% to man-made emissions worldwide. However, the number of passengers is expected to double to 8.2 billion per year by 2037, so its share will increase (especially decarburization in other industries).
Airlines have taken steps to reduce emissions, but most of them are nullified by market growth, and most are in smaller and incremental steps. Jet fuel alternatives are important to have a real impact.
“Hydrogen propulsion wasn’t even on our radar as a viable emission reduction technology path until the last five years,” said Glenn Llewellyn, vice president of Airbus’ pollution-free aircraft development, in a press release. “But with data from other transport industries, we have changed everything quickly.”
Now Airbus says the new plane could enter commercial service in 2035. The company plans to “maturate all the hydrogen technology needed” by 2025, allowing the next 10 years for aircraft development, testing and certification. The first prototypes are expected to arrive in the late 2020s.
European airplane makers are Consider two methods It uses hydrogen to power the aircraft. First, hydrogen combustion works the same way as a regular internal combustion engine, but it burns clean hydrogen instead of fossil fuels. The second hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity by converting the energy stored in hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Airbus’ three concept aircraft, collectively code-named ZEROe, are powered by a hybrid system that uses both hydrogen combustion and hydrogen fuel cells.
There are three zero-emission Airbus aircraft that can revolutionize green flight and can board in the 2030s.
Airbus’ hydrogen-powered ZEROe propeller aircraft
Airbus’ first design is surprising given that the current airplane builders do not manufacture turboprop or propeller aircraft.
However, propeller planes are more efficient at low speeds and can often take off from shorter runways, making them an attractive option for some airlines.
ZEROe hydrogen planes seat up to 100 passengers and fly routes up to about 1,000 nautical miles. The liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system will be located behind the rear pressure bulkhead, Airbus says.
Airbus ZEROe Jet
Airplanes powered by turbofans (jets) may look familiar except for their unusually long and swept wings. With a range of just over 2,000 nautical miles and a traditional tube with wing design, the ZEROe turbofans that can accommodate 120 to 200 passengers are similar to the current Airbus A320 family except for the fuel source.
Like turboprops, liquid hydrogen is stored in a tank behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
ZEROe Blended Wing Aircraft
The ZEROe “mixed wing” design, the most futuristic of the three concept aircraft and the only one to have a completely different design from today’s aircraft, will offer Airbus’ engineers and potential future customers the most options.
The unusually spacious body means that liquid hydrogen is stored and there are many different ways airlines arrange their cabins. All designs are completed as Airbus finishes developing the technology to get into the plane and decides which one is the most efficient.
The aircraft will carry up to 200 passengers, and Airbus says it will have a “similar” range as a turbofan jet. It is also powered by two turbofan jet engines, which look different from conventional turbofan airplanes.
Jean-Brice Dumont, Vice President of Engineering at Airbus, said in a statement, “Because hydrogen has a different volumetric energy density than jet fuel, we need to study storage options and aircraft architectures that differ from conventional storage options.” “This means that the look of our future pollution-free aircraft will change. These three configurations provide some interesting options for further exploration.”
The quest for a carbon neutral plane
Airlines and aerospace manufacturers have been looking for ways to make their operations greener for years.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations’ fleet, predicts that the greenhouse gases emitted by airplanes could increase significantly over the next decades. (These figures do not explain the travel-deterring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
To date, airlines have largely addressed climate change by replacing older aircraft with new, more efficient ones and, if possible, gradually changing them. For example American Airlines says On most airplanes, we installed a small vertical piece at the end of the wing, reducing fuel usage by 4%. This device changes the aerodynamic profile to improve the lift of the wing.
Airlines have also focused on carbon offset purchases. However, the offset does not directly reduce emissions. Instead, they fund green activities that have a positive effect, theoretically eliminating the negative impact of behavior. Airlines are offering flights to more and more passengers. However, the offset has been criticized for not working.
Biofuels are another option that is being implemented today.
However, the current supply is limited, making it difficult to expand. In addition, some biofuels use raw feeds that are far less efficient than conventional fossil fuels, resulting in much higher emissions.
There are many more complications, including the threat of deforestation to increase stockpiles for biofuels. It can also accelerate climate change.
Ultimately, the only thing that will have a big impact on emission levels is reliance on new fuel sources. Airbus says hydrogen planes are still 15 years away, but the concept could advance into the next era of air travel.