As the body of evidence grows about the heavy environmental footprint of flying, airplane manufacturers have started to ramp up their efforts to decarbonize the industry.
In a bid to showcase its plans for zero-emissions air travel, Airbus has recently unveiled three hydrogen-powered aircraft designs collectively known as the ZEROe concepts, which are expected to hit the skies as soon as 2035.
The first concept features a turbofan design that’s expected to have a range of over 2,300 miles and a capacity to carry between 120 and 200 passengers. Jet fuel will give way to liquid hydrogen to power the engines, with the hydrogen stored in tanks in the rear part of the aircraft.
The next concept unveils a 100-passenger airplane featuring turboprops instead of a turbofan design. Like the previous one, this design uses hydrogen fuel as a power source, but it is primarily designed for short hops, with an expected range of around 1,150 miles.
The third member of the ZEROe Airbus family is arguably the most visually stunning. Calling attention to is “blended-wing body” that allows for numerous fuel storage and cabin layout configurations, the aircraft has a capacity of 200 passengers and a mileage of over 2,300 miles.
While hydrogen-powered flyers are certainly key to help clean up the skies, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury notes that it is essential that government and industrial partners join efforts to overcome the current hurdles faced by the industry, including scaling up the infrastructure needed for the green production of hydrogen.