Toulouse, France — Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft, which could enter service by 2035.
Each represents a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, Airbus said Monday.
The three concepts — all codenamed ZEROe for climate-neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft — are:
A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles, capable of operating transcontinentally 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.
A turboprop design (up to 100 passengers) using 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.
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.
All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source, an option which Airbus believes 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,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.
“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.”
- All images are courtesy of Airbus