Airbus has shown concept designs of three different future passenger jets, all of which have hydrogen as their primary power source. The European aircraft manufacturer says it is aiming for 2035 to release the aircraft.
It concerns three different passenger aircraft, all of which are identified by the code name ZEROe, with which Airbus wants to emphasize that they are climate-neutral aircraft that emit no CO2. These are three designs, each representing a different approach, using all kinds of techniques and aerodynamic configurations to achieve the same sustainable goal.
First of all, Airbus shows a passenger aircraft that, apart from the extended wings, is very similar to the current passenger aircraft. This turbofan model has to carry 120 to 200 passengers over distances of more than 3700 km. This is made possible by a modified gas turbine engine that uses liquid hydrogen. In comparison: a current Airbus A320, comparable to the Boeing 737, flies about 5600km.
In addition, there will be a turboprop model with propellers, which also uses modified gas turbine engines that use hydrogen. This device is a bit smaller and is intended for shorter distances, with a range of more than 1850km.
It is the most futuristic looking concept blended-wing bodydesign, which could accommodate up to 200 passengers. In this design, the wings and fuselage are in fact a whole. The range would be more than 3700 km and the relatively wide hull offers several options for storing the hydrogen and furnishing the cabin for the passengers.
Airbus, through CEO Guillaume Faury, says these concepts will help explore and mature the design and layout of the first climate-neutral commercial airliner. He does add that the transition to hydrogen will require quite a bit of determination from the entire aviation ecosystem and that support will also be needed from governments and industrial partners. A lot will also have to be done at airports, such as the infrastructure for refueling the aircraft.