The world’s largest airline manufacturer Airbus has unveiled three visual concepts for what could be the first commercial zero-emission aircraft powered by hydrogen, with plans to be first in service by 2035.
The initiative, called “ZEROe” is the company’s latest effort to draw public attention to its “zero-emission” ambitions as European governments push for cleaner technology in their post-COVID recovery plans, Reuterswrote.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury described the project as a “historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole,” and said he wants his company to play “a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen.”
The “ZEROe” initiative includes concepts for two conventional-looking aircraft: a turbofan jet engine able to carry 120-200 people over 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) and a turboprop able to carry up to 100 people for 1,000 nm.
Unlike normal planes, the engines would be adapted to burn liquid hydrogen stored in the rear fuselage.
A third proposal incorporates a revolutionary “blended wing body” design.
At the same time, Airbus is working on a demonstrator, with initial results expected in 2021.
“The demonstrator will allow us to assess what the most promising architecture is,” Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini said in an interview.
To meet its 2035 goal, Airbus would need to select technologies by 2025, she added.
Airbus unveils concepts for hydrogen-powered plane