Sep 22, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Airbus eyes 2035 for big hydrogen-fueled planes

Illustration of Airbus' “blended-wing body” zero-emissions plane. Courtesy of Airbus

Illustration of Airbus' “blended-wing body” zero-emissions plane. Courtesy of Airbus

Airbus has released three "concepts" for big zero-emissions planes that could take flight by 2035.

Why it matters: Carbon emissions from aviation are an important source of planet-warming gases. They had been rising until the pandemic hit and likely will again.

Driving the news: Airbus showed pictures of three planes that would use hydrogen as their main power source, calling it "likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets."

  • The one above is a “blended-wing body” design with an "exceptionally wide" design that allows multiple hydrogen storage options.
  • The others are a shorter-haul turboprop design, and a jet with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles.
  • Both of those two have an outward appearance that's more like today's passenger planes.

The big picture: "Airbus estimates hydrogen has the potential to reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions by up to 50%," they said.

  • With the 2035 operational target, Airbus said it's planning nearer-term steps by 2025 to prepare, with plans over the "coming months" to begin testing hydrogen fuel cell and combustion tech.

Go deeper: Airbus wants to build zero-emission planes by 2035. Here's how (CNN)

Go deeper