Zero-Emission Flight? Airbus Aims To Transform Environmental Impact Of Travel with Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

turbofan design
  

turboprop design
  

“blended-wing body” design

Airbus has presented three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft as part of its bid to "lead the way" in decarbonization of the entire aviation industry.

Each concept, one of which Airbus says could enter service by 2035, represents a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, using different technologies and aerodynamic configurations. They rely on hydrogen as a primary power source, which Airbus says holds "exceptional promise" as a clean aviation fuel.

“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. 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,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.

“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.”  

The three concepts - all codenamed “ZEROe” for "zero-emission" - include: 

  • A turbofan design (120-200 pax) with a range of 2,000-plus nautical miles, capable of operating transcontinentally.
  • A turboprop design (up to 100 pax) capable of travelling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it an option for short-haul trips.
  • A “blended-wing body” design (up to 200 pax) with transcontinental range. In this design, the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft, and the exceptionally wide fuselage opens up multiple options for cabin layout and hydrogen storage and distribution.

“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,” said Faury. “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.”

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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