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Airbus to start test flights of hydrogen version of A380 airliner in 2026

The European Airbus intends to start testing hydrogen engines on its largest passenger liner, the A380, in a few years. To implement this project, the manufacturer organized cooperation with CFM International, a company producing such engines, a joint venture between GE and the French Safran.

Airbus said it intends to start testing hydrogen engines on the A380 by 2026 and is looking to introduce low-emission fuels to its commercial air travel business.

The test aircraft, being developed in collaboration with CFM International, will use a modified version of an aircraft engine already in use in commercial aviation. Such an option would be able to use hydrogen burning at higher temperatures than conventional fuel. Test flights are expected to begin as early as 2026.

Airliner manufacturers and airlines have long been trying to reduce air pollution from air travel. Today they account for more than 2% of all carbon emissions. According to Airbus, the company expects to begin commercial use of hydrogen -powered aircraft as early as 2035. Rival Boeing pays more attention to the so-called. “sustainable” fuels, which today account for less than 1% of all aviation fuels and are significantly more expensive than conventional fuels. Last June, the company said it did not expect to use large hydrogen airliners before 2050.

One of the main problems when using hydrogen is the need to use additional equipment for its storage, which will increase the weight of the liner, as well as reduce the payload and the allowable number of passengers. According to Richard Aboulafia, managing director of consulting firm Aerodynamic Advisory, “Hydrogen is what happens when engineers and economists don’t talk to each other.”

Airbus said it chose the A380 for testing because the large passenger aircraft has enough room to accommodate liquid hydrogen tanks and other equipment.


source: CNBC



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