Finally green travel without guilt! New hydrogen powered fuel cell set from Airbus for later this decade

Finally green travel without guilt! Airbus’ new hydrogen-powered fuel cell could hold the key to green flights

  • Airbus is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell that will likely enable zero-emission travel in the years to come
  • The company is using a modified version of its A380 MSN001 aircraft for the demonstrations
  • The aircraft is a 100-seat, high-wing regional airliner containing six eight-blade propellers attached to engine casings
  • “We are giving ourselves additional options that will inform our future ZEROe aircraft…that we plan to launch in 2027-2028,” Airbus said

Airbus is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell propulsion system as a possible solution for its zero-emission aircraft.

A modified version of the company’s A380 MSN001 aircraft will carry the fuel cell engine pod, and the aircraft’s real fuselage will house a cryogenic tank containing the liquefied hydrogen.

Airbus has several zero-emissions concept aircraft, but the one being used for this effort is a 100-seat, high-wing regional aircraft that contains six eight-blade propellers attached to engine casings.

The pods contain hydrogen fuel cells that generate electricity as a result of an electrochemical reaction to power electric motors.

Airbus is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell propulsion system as a possible solution for its zero-emission aircraft

“Fuel cells are a potential solution to help us achieve our goal of zero emissions, and we are focused on developing and testing this technology to understand if it is feasible and feasible for zero-emission aircraft to enter service in 2035 is.” Glenn Llewellyn, VP Zero-Emission Aircraft at Airbus, said in a statement.

For this proof-of-concept demonstrator, liquid hydrogen from the cryogenic tank is converted to a gaseous state before being distributed to the fuel cell via supply lines leading from the tank and through an external structure to the engine pylon interface.

Electric motors near the front of the pod then convert the electrical power into mechanical power by transferring torque to a reduction gear.

A propeller provides the thrust.

The thermal energy generated by the fuel cell must be routed to heat exchangers via a liquid cooling system and released into the air there.

Water is also produced as a by-product of the electrochemical reaction and is expelled from an outlet at the back of the capsule.

The company said the A380 is an “obvious” choice for a hydrogen fuel cell engine demonstrator because it offers a lot of space internally – allowing the company to test multiple configurations.

“From an aerodynamic point of view, the A380 is a very stable aircraft. So the pod attached to the rear fuselage via the stub is not a big problem,” said Mathias Andriamisaina, Head of ZEROe Demonstrators and Tests at Airbus. “Moreover, the airflows from the capsule and its propeller do not affect the airflow over the tail surfaces of the A380.”

“On a large scale and if technology goals are met, fuel cell engines could be capable of powering a hundred passenger aircraft with a range of approximately 1,000 nautical miles,” explained Llewellyn.

“By continuing to invest in this technology, we are providing ourselves with additional options that will influence our decisions on the architecture of our future ZEROe aircraft, which we plan to develop and bring to market in the period 2027-2028.”

“From an aerodynamic point of view, the A380 is a very stable aircraft.  So the pod attached to the rear fuselage via the stub is not a big problem,” said Mathias Andriamisaina, Head of ZEROe Demonstrators and Tests at Airbus.

“From an aerodynamic point of view, the A380 is a very stable aircraft. So the pod attached to the rear fuselage via the stub is not a big problem,” said Mathias Andriamisaina, Head of ZEROe Demonstrators and Tests at Airbus. “Moreover, the airflows from the capsule and its propeller do not affect the airflow over the tail surfaces of the A380.”

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