Global aviation industry has committed to cut carbon emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050, as per the Paris Agreement for Climate Change. The Aerospace Pioneer, Airbus has now launched 3 new concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircrafts serviceable by 2035. So what is the tech behind it?
Crux of the Matter
What Is This Emission Free Fuel?
All 3 aircraft concepts proposed by Airbus use hydrogen gas or ZEROe fuel. So the only emission when burned, is water vapor. Hydrogen can be:
- Combusted directly through modified gas turbine engines.
- Converted to electric energy via fuel cells.
- Used to produce synthetic kerosene, when combined with CO2.
What Is The Concept Of The First Aircraft
Also called the Short Haul Turboprop aircraft, it would be powered by a pair of modified gas turboprop engines, with six-bladed propellers, designed to burn liquid hydrogen. The aircraft also uses electric batteries charged by the engines, in order to give power boost to the engines when required.
- Capacity: 100 passengers
- Travel Distance: Upto 1,000 nautical miles or 1,850 km
- Purpose: short-distance trips.
How Is It Different From The Current Models?
The seats at the back of the aircraft have been removed to make space for the hydrogen tanks, resulting in less passenger space. This results in less passenger space and is comparable to the Airbus A220-100 design.
Why Is Tank Design Crucial?
Hydrogen becomes liquid at -425 °F, so the tank will have to be designed to ensure that temperature is maintained from takeoff to landing.
What’s The Concept Of Second Airbus?
It’s the Transcontinental Turbofan aircraft and would be the fitting successor of Airbus A320. As with the prior model, the liquid hydrogen fuel in this aircraft would be stored in tanks installed behind the rear pressure compartment, and distributed to the engines on the wings.
- Capacity: 120-200 passengers
- Travel Distance: Upto 2000 nautical miles or 3700 km
- Purpose: Longer distance trips, for going across the Atlantic Ocean.
What If There Is A Gas Leak?
There is a chimney built into the vertical stabilizer to vent the hydrogen gas in case of a leak. A stabilizer is a structure designed to reduce aerodynamic side slip and provide directional stability.
The Most Unusual One – Third Aircraft Concept
Also called the Blended Wing Aircraft, it looks like a giant flying wing. This configuration has been tested with Airbus’ MAVERIC demonstrator.
- Capacity: 200 passengers
- Travel Distance: 3700 km.
What’s Great About This Design?
While the other two models look like conventional passenger jets, this aircraft has wings that merge with a fuselage or main body of the aircraft that is much wider. This allows more room and efficient configuration options to accommodate more passengers and store and distribute hydrogen fuel.
Look Forward To More Aerospace Partnerships
One of the airlines, easyJet has already publicly supported the ZEROe concepts and has started working in partnership with Airbus to research more about hybrid and electric aircraft designs and infrastructure.
- The Airbus A380 is a wide-body aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It is the world’s largest passenger airliner. The A380 project was announced in 1990 to challenge the dominance of the Boeing 747 in the long haul market.
- The Volkswagen emissions scandal began in 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to the Volkswagen Group. The agency had found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing.
- Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. Airbus’ A320, was known for being the first commercial jet to use a digital fly-by-wire control system.