Airbus to build planes using hydrogen as a primary source of power

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Ndaman Joshua Olayinka
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European planemaker Airbus has announced its plans to bring the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft into service by 2035.

Boeing’s (BA) European rival on Monday revealed three concepts that will explore different options for using hydrogen as a primary source of power to fly planes.

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In a statement issued by Airbus (EADSF) CEO Guillaume Faury ; “ Hydrogen, both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft, has the potential to “significantly reduce aviation’s climate impact.”

The aviation sector is under pressure to tackle carbon emissions, with some governments tying climate crisis goals to coronavirus bailout packages. The pandemic has plunged aviation into its worst ever slump and is expected to accelerate the shift towards renewable forms of energy, as governments use the opportunity to promote a green recovery.

In order to cut down emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050, the aviation sector will need to rapidly reduce its reliance on crude oil-based jet fuel and turn increasingly to sustainable aviation fuels. The use of hydrogen which is yet largely untapped is much more expensive than conventional fuels.

In 2019, airlines used about 340 billion liters of jet fuel, whereas only about 50 million liters of sustainable aviation fuels were produced, Robert Boyd, who heads alternative fuels at the International Air Transport Association, recently told CNN Business.

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How the new airbus concept works?

Airbus estimates that hydrogen has the potential to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions by up to 50%. The three ZEROe concepts announced by the planemaker include a turbofan, a turboprop and blended-wing body design.

The turbofan design would carry up to 200 passengers more than 2,000 nautical miles. It will be powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion.

The turboprop concept would carry up to 100 passengers more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it suitable for short-haul trips.

Lastly, the blended-wing body design would carry up to 200 passengers. The wings would merge with the main body of the aircraft, which has a range similar to that of the turbofan.

During a press briefing on Monday, Airbus social media channels. executive Vice President of engineering Jean-Brice Dumont said the company expects that it will take three to five years to select a concept for development.

However, the company expects to invest “billions” in the project and has started working with airlines, energy companies and airport. This idea will create a massive change in the energy and aviation ecosystem said Glenn Llewellyn, vice president of zero-emission aircraft.

Faury also said the transition to hydrogen will require “decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem,”

In a recent assessment by the European Commission (EC), without regulatory intervention, consumption of sustainable aviation fuels is projected to increase from 0.05% of the total jet fuel demand currently to just 2.8% by 2050. Therefore, EC is considering requiring airline operators to use a minimum amount of sustainable fuels as part of proposals to reduce the environmental damage caused by aviation.

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Source : CNN Business

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