Airbus hints at making engines for hydrogen-powered aircraft

Planemaker plans to develop the world's first zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled commercial aircraft by 2035

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury told a German newspaper the planemaker could equip its hydrogen-powered aircraft with electric motors produced in-house. EPA
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Airbus may make its own engines for its hydrogen-fuelled planes, chief executive Guillaume Faury told a German newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

The planemaker said it plans to develop the world's first zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled commercial aircraft by 2035.

Mr Faury told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that he could imagine equipping those aircraft with electric motors produced in-house.

"That's something we could basically do ourselves," Mr Faury was quoted as saying, speaking of a possible "change of strategy".

In September, Mr Faury said that 2035 was a “fair and realistic perspective” for the hydrogen-powered plane to be in service.

“We don’t need to change the laws of physics to go with hydrogen. Hydrogen has an energy density three times that of kerosene – [technically it] is made for aviation,” he said.

About 60 companies in the aviation sector have pledged to increase the share of sustainable aviation fuels in the industry to 10 per cent by 2030.

Speaking at an Airbus event in Toulouse, France, Mr Faury said state and regulatory support would be needed to make the dream a reality.

“This [decarbonisation] challenge is not only about an aircraft. It’s about having the right fuels — hydrogen — at the right time, at the right place, at the right price and that is not something that aviation can manage alone,” he said.

Sabine Klauke, Airbus's chief technical officer, said some of the hurdles include that hydrogen needs to be liquefied and stored at -253°C.

The double-skinned tanks needed to contain the substance are four times the size of conventional fuel storage, she said.

Updated: February 05, 2022, 4:44 AM
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