Airbus has revealed its plans for the next generation in air travel, and it includes three different planes that all make use of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source. Each plane represents a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations to help the company achieve its goal of producing zero emission airplanes.
The Turbofan Design:
A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles, capable of operating trans-continentally and powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed via tanks located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
The Turboprop Design:
A turboprop design (up to 100 passengers) uses a turboprop engine instead of a turbofan and also powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines, which would be capable of traveling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips.
The Blended-wing Design:
A “blended-wing body” design (up to 200 passengers) concept in which the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft with a range similar to that of the turbofan concept. The exceptionally wide fuselage opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution, and for cabin layout.
“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 Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.
While using hydrogen to power airplanes might still be a long way off, examples of it being used with grounded land-based forms of transportation is slowly but surely becoming a common occurrence. A number of hydrogen fuel pumps have been installed around the UK, and the city of London has also implemented the usage of Hydrogen buses for its citizens.
Image credit: Airbus