AIRBUS: Cryogenic Fuel Systems as a Basis For Their Next-Gen Airplanes.

Published on: 30 May 2022 10:00 AM

One of the most demanding sectors for fossil fuel consumption is the aerospace sector. The World Wildlife Fund pictures this field as "one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change." According to the institution, air travel is also "currently the most carbon-intensive activity an individual can make."

For this purpose, Airbus decided to work on a new project for the next-gen hydrogen planes that will rely on cryogenic fuel systems. The ultimate goal is to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels while being "cost-competitive".

The team working in the facilities of the Zero Emission Development Centre, located in Filton, Bristolare, has already started developing the technology for the ZEROe aircraft. The center will later be implemented in Spain, Germany, and France. 

"All Airbus ZEDCs are expected to be fully operational and ready for ground testing with the first fully functional cryogenic hydrogen tank during 2023, and with flight testing starting in 2026," the company said.

After the lawsuit against KLM for greenwashing, initiatives needed to be considered to bring hope back to the flying sector and its path towards sustainability. In an interview given to CNBC earlier this year, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury emphasized the significant consequences "if we don’t manage to decarbonize at the right pace," he said.

Faury also outlined many areas that his company was concentrating on. These include reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, the aircraft the company was delivering now had a certified capacity for 50% sustainable aviation fuel in their tanks. "We’ll go to 100% by the end of the decade." he confirmed. 

Next step, in the mid-term and long-term future, the CEO wants "to bring to the market the hydrogen plane because this is really the ultimate solution,".

Hydrogen is key for many industries and for generations to come. According to the International Energy Agency, hydrogen can be created using many processes. One of them, electrolysis, employs electric current to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Some people call this hydrogen "green" or "renewable" if the power used in this process comes from a source that can be used again and again, like the wind or the sun.

Other companies besides Airbus are considering the use of hydrogen. In October of last year, plans to operate commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft between London and Rotterdam were unveiled, with the project's proponents anticipating takeoff in 2024. ZeroAvia originally stated that it was constructing a 19-seat aircraft that would "fly fully on hydrogen."

Source : CNBC