Airbus has unveiled three zero-emission concept aircraft which could see commercial service by 2035. The three concepts show a different path to zero-emission flights, but are all based on hydrogen power. The aircraft manufacturer strongly believes hydrogen holds "exceptional promise" as a clean aviation fuel and an important way for the aerospace industry to reach their climate-neutral targets.
The three concepts, which are all codenamed ZEROe are:
- A turbofan, almost regular, design, able to carry up to 200 passengers over 2,000 nautical miles. It is powered by modified engines running on hydrogen through combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and transported via tanks that are located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
- A turboprop, seating up to 100 passengers and able to carry them over 1,000 nautical miles. This aircraft will also feature modified engines burning liquid hydrogen instead of regular fuel.
- The most notable design is that of the "blended-wing-body", or BWB-design. This plane could also carry 200 passengers over 2,000 nautical miles, but offers more aerodynamic improvements as well as more options to store the hydrogen and innovative cabin designs.
Airbus will use these concepts to discuss further development with airlines and airports around the world. The idea is to have a technology demonstrator in the air by 2026-2028 and then a commercial aircraft by 2035.