An airbus A380 (illustration).
Vladimir Gerdo / TASS / Sipa USA / SIP
Now is the time for environmental choices, even for the aeronautics industry.
The development of a carbon-free hydrogen aircraft is a “priority strategic axis” for Airbus, its executive chairman Guillaume Faury said on Sunday.
"No major technological breakthrough"
“Developing a low-carbon aircraft does not require a major technological breakthrough,” said the boss of the European aircraft manufacturer in an interview with Le
He also recalled that Airbus already uses hydrogen propulsion for its satellites and the Ariane rocket.
The choice and maturation of technologies will take five years and then two for that of suppliers and industrial sites, according to him.
"So the program is scheduled for around 2028. Our ambition is to be the first manufacturer to put such a device into service in 2035," he detailed.
This schedule corresponds to the objective of a "carbon neutral aircraft", launched in early June by the French government, which has planned to devote 1.5 billion euros to it by 2022 as part of its plan. support for the aeronautics sector undermined by the crisis due to the coronavirus.
Three aircraft concepts
Airbus has prepared three concepts, explained Guillaume Faury.
The first "is an aircraft with a classic configuration that can accommodate up to 200 seats with a range of action making it possible to cover more than 3,500 kilometers".
The cylindrical liquid hydrogen tank would be housed inside the fuselage in the rear part of the aircraft.
"The second will be a propeller plane, able to carry around 100 passengers, for shorter journeys" while "the third is more disruptive", according to him: it is a "flying wing of about 200 seats which allows us to study a completely different configuration for hydrogen storage and propulsion ”.
Beyond technical developments, the regulatory framework must necessarily change by then to authorize the use of hydrogen in commercial aircraft, recalled Guillaume Faury.
"It will also be necessary for the infrastructure at the airports to be ready and for green hydrogen to be available in large quantities".
“Green” hydrogen must be produced by electricity from renewable sources.
However, today it is much more expensive than hydrogen of fossil origin, the production of which is very polluting.
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