By Thibaut Calatayud
This is a “giant step” taken in the quest for the green plane. Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Airbus announced that it was going to test a prototype of hydrogen engine on a A380. The aircraft manufacturer aims to put a zero-emission aircraft into service by 2035.
Airbus will test an A380
To do this, Airbus has signed a partnership with CFM International. The objective is to “fill it in flight with a hydrogen propulsion system around the middle of the decade”.
This engine of the future will be tested on the ground and in flight using an A380 test aircraft equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared by Airbus sites in France and Germany.
“It is a safe and reliable platform that is very versatile for testing a wide range of zero-emission technologies. Additionally, the platform can comfortably accommodate the large flight test instrumentation that will be needed to analyze the performance of hydrogen in the hydrogen propulsion system. »
In a video posted on its social networks, the manufacturer explains how its prototype works:
A major step towards hydrogen flights
For Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer of Airbus, this is one of the most significant advances to enable the advent of hydrogen flight since the presentation of the ZEROe concepts in September 2020.
“Leveraging the expertise of US and European engine manufacturers to advance hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership reflects our industry’s drive to make zero-emission aviation a reality. »
Carbon neutrality expected by 2050
Concretely, Airbus defines the specifications of the hydrogen propulsion system, supervises the flight tests, and provides the A380 test bench which will make it possible to test the hydrogen engine in the cruise phase.
Its partner, CFM International, will notably be responsible for modifying the combustion chamber, the fuel circuit and the control system of a GE Passport turbojet engine so that it runs on hydrogen.
With this prototype, the two competent companies are well honoring the commitment made when signing the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) objectives in October 2021, namely to achieve carbon neutrality in the airline industry. ‘by 2050.
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