Airbus moves forward with its plans to have hydrogen-fueled commercial aircraft by 2035. The company announced intentions to test the hydrogen fuel technology on a modified version of one of its A380 jetliners.
The company also said it will collaborate with CFM International – a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, on the tests.
Airbus will use an “A380 flying testbed fitted with liquid hydrogen tanks” to trial propulsion technology for its future hydrogen aircraft. The goal is to add a stub at the aircraft in between the rear doors at the upper level that will have a hydrogen-powered gas turbine at the end of it.
According to Glenn Llewellyn – vice president for zero emission aircraft at Airbus, the airplane will be fitted with hydrogen storage and hydrogen distribution that will feed its engine with the fuel.
He also explained the goal of the “flight laboratory” is to learn more about hydrogen propulsion systems in real ground and flight conditions which would enable Airbus to press on with its plans for a zero-emission aircraft. If everything goes into plan, test flights are expected to take place in 2026.
“This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts back in September 2020,” said Sabine Klauke, chief technical officer for Airbus.
The French aerospace manufacturer first announced plans to fly on hydrogen in September 2020, calling the project “ZEROe.” The company unveiled three concept aircrafts that would rely on hydrogen as a primary power source and announced it aims to have “the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft” by 2035.