Airbus, the first hydrogen passenger flight scheduled for 2035

Airbus, the first hydrogen passenger flight scheduled for 2035


In a recent public statement, the Airbus company announced that it is working on an electric powertrain for its aircraft, to be powered by liquid hydrogen: the first flight tests are expected in 2026, while for the first hydrogen-powered aircraft dedicated to passenger transport could enter service in 2035 .

Airbus's idea is to create large tanks to be fixed under the wings, where jet engines are normally seen today, to carry the liquid hydrogen necessary for the journey: these tanks are particularly complicated to design since the hydrogen must be kept under high pressure and below a temperature of -253°C to keep it in a liquid state. This liquid is then converted into electric current which will power the actual electric motor, which could be of the jet or even propeller type, depending on the applications.

Airbus aims to further optimize the interior space aircraft cabin thanks to this solution, thus being able to offer more space on board both for passengers and for the hold.

At the moment the company is working on a simpler prototype than what should be the final version: on board an A380, Airbus has installed a tank dedicated to liquid hydrogen, but at least for the moment the company will be content to keep it on board, without the need to keep it under pressure due to space issues or. Externally, the A380 in prototype form will still be equipped with classic jet engines but will have a propeller powered by the hydrogen tank installed on board at the rear.

It will take quite some time before this technology can be applied to passenger flights, at least 10 years: after all, these are technologies derived from space programs and it will take thousands of hours of tests to make sure everything is secure enough for the market.

Airbus is very convinced of the success of this project, so much so that it has entered into a partnership with ArianeGroup, which will be responsible for designing and building the first zero-emission liquid hydrogen refueling plant for aircraft at Blagnac, Toulouse airport, by 2025.