European aerospace corporation Airbus has unveiled three designs for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircrafts that would rely on hydrogen as a primary power source. Collectively dubbed ZEROe, the climate-neutral, zero-emission concepts are designed to carry maximum passenger loads between 100 and 200 people for flights that range from short-haul trips to transcontinental journeys. Airbus’ hydrogen-powered commercial aircrafts could enter service as early as 2035.
Revealed in late September, Airbus’ three concept designs are primarily fueled by hydrogen but differ in aerodynamic configurations and technological pathways. They will be further evaluated and assessed for feasibility. The zero-emission commercial concepts include the “turbofan” design that can accommodate 120 to 200 passengers with a range of over 2,000 nautical miles to make the aircraft ideal for transcontinental trips. The plane would be powered with a modified gas-turbine engine that runs on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, on combustion.
The second concept is the “turboprop” design that can hold up to 100 passengers. Named after its turboprop engine, the hydrogen combustion-powered aircraft also features a modified gas-turbine engine but would only be capable of traveling around 1,000 nautical miles on shorter trips.
The last design is the “blended-wing body”, the most eye-catching concept of the three, that can accommodate up to 200 passengers. This model features an exceptionally wide fuselage thanks to the connection of the wings to the main body of the aircraft.
“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. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. Airbus plans to work together with government and industrial partners to provide increased funding for research and technology into sustainable fuels and the realization of the ZEROe prototypes.
Images via Airbus