Airbus and CFM will equip the A380 with a hydrogen engine

Computer rendering of what the test aircraft will look like. Photo: ©Airbus

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus and engine manufacturer CFM International have signed an agreement to set up a hydrogen-powered flight demonstration program.

This partnership will see the two companies modify and equip an Airbus A380 with a hydrogen engine, which will be mounted on the rear fuselage. Four hydrogen tanks will be installed at the rear of the cabin. The demonstration aircraft is ready to take flight »around the middle of this decadeaccording to Airbus, but a more specific timeline for the project was not given. The estimated cost of the program was not disclosed during a press conference on Tuesday, February 22.

In the United States, CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, is modifying an existing type of engine to run on hydrogen. The company also develops fuel and control systems. Before being fitted on the A380, the CFM engine will undergo a ground test program.

The aircraft used for the project is the Airbus A380-800 with serial number MSN001 – the first A380 ever built.

In September 2020, Airbus first unveiled concepts for future aircraft designs using hydrogen for propulsion. The announcement with CFM is the first firm plan to install a hydrogen engine on a flight test aircraft. “This is the most significant step taken by Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen flight since unveiling our ZEROe concepts in September 2020.“says Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer at Airbus.

The European aircraft manufacturer is banking on hydrogen to power future zero-emission commercial airliners. He wants to introduce the first hydrogen planes in 2035, although many see this as a very ambitious time goal.

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