European aerospace company Airbus announced intentions of introducing the first-ever zero-emission commercial aircraft. Specifically, Airbus aims to fly the hydrogen-fueled plane by 2035.
Zero-Emission Airbus Aircraft Designs
This week, the company unveiled three various concepts of the zero-emission aircraft. The aviation company looks for the most efficient design. They want a concept that would allow their planes to fly long without emitting greenhouse gases.
— Airbus (@Airbus) September 21, 2020
Moreover, the design concepts include a turbofan, a turboprop, and a blended-wing body. Also, the company expects it could take several years to select a concept to develop, per the company.
Airbus could achieve the goal by replacing fuel with hydrogen. Basically, burning hydrogen just produces water as a by-product.
Jean-Brice Dumont, the EVP of engineering, explained how the hydrogen differs from the regular aircraft fuel. “Hydrogen has a different volumetric energy density than jet fuel so we have to study other storage options and aircraft architectures than existing ones.”
By its estimations, Airbus could lower the aviation’s carbon footprint by half, per a CNN Business article.
Huge Leap for the Industry
The chief executive of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, said in a statement that they consider the decision “a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector.”
However, Faury noted that the possibility of hydrogen-powered planes would require huge investments. Per VP of the sustainable aircraft, Glen Llewellyn, Airbus would shell out “billions” for the project. The company expects the zero-emission aircraft to “create a massive change in the energy and aviation system.”
But to commit to the change, the company would need “decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem,” Faury said.
“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,” Faury also stated.
“We intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen,” the Airbus chief said.