Airbus to test hydrogen fuel engine on A380 jet

Airbus is only one step closer to launching the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.

The French aircraft maker has announced plans to test hydrogen fuel technology using a modified version of its A380 airliners, which were discontinued last year.

Airbus has partnered with CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, in a huge hydrogen performance event.

Aircraft manufacturers use “A380 Flying Test Beds fitted with liquid hydrogen tanks” to test propulsion technology for its future hydrogen aircraft.

Rendering of four hydrogen tanks stored in the caudal position to provide fuel for the hydrogen combustion engine throughout the rear aircraft.

‘Flight Laboratory’

“Our ambition is to take this (A380) aircraft and insert the stub between the rear doors on the upper level,” says Glenn Llewellyn, vice president of zero-emission aircraft at Airbus, in a video posted on Airbus’ YouTube channel.”That stub has a hydrogen powered fuel line turbine on its end.”

He explains that the aircraft is equipped with hydrogen storage and hydrogen distribution, which nourishes its engine with a chemical component.

According to Llewellyn, the goal of the “Flight Laboratory” is to learn more about hydrogen propulsion systems under real ground and flight conditions, thus allowing Airbus to emphasise its plans for zero-emission aircraft in just a decade.

Test flights are currently estimated to take place in 2026, if everything goes as planned.  The news comes a year after Airbus unveiled three hydrogen-based concepts under the Zero banner.

“This is a widespread step for Airbus to release a brand new technology of hydrogen-powered flight after the release of our Zero standards in September 2020,” Airbus Chief Technical Officer Sabine Klauke stated in a statement.

“By using the knowledge of American and European machine directors to enhance hydrogen combustion technology, this worldwide cooperation sends a clear message that our industry is dedicated to making the zero-emigration flight a reality.”

  Guilt-free flight?

Aviation generates 2.8 percent of global CO2 emissions and the global fuel consumption of commercial airlines has reached 95 billion gallons in 2019.

The global aviation industry has pledged to cut emissions by 2050 by half the 2005 level.

Several air carriers are moving towards sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to help reduce the environmental impact of the flight, British Airways’ parent company IAG has revealed plans to supply 10 percent of its flights with SAF by 2030, and United Airlines is nearing completion.  Its first successful flight last year with 100 percent sustainable fuel.

However, Airbus is defending its bets on hydrogen, which reduces aviation’s carbon emissions by 50 percent, according to aircraft manufacturers.

“I strongly consider that the usage of hydrogen because the number one electricity supply for artificial fuels and industrial aircraft – has the capability to seriously lessen the effect of weather on aviation,” says Guillaume Faury,, Airbus’s chief executive.

Meanwhile, Aviation Firm ZeroAvia is currently developing a 19-seat aircraft that will operate commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft between 2024 and London and Rotterdam.

Guillaume Faury, chief executive for Airbus.

Guillaume Faury,

Guillaume Fourie is a French engineer and executive currently serving as chief executive officer of aircraft maker Airbus SAS and its parent company, Airbus SE.

Airbus Chief Technical Officer Sabine Klauke

Sabine Klauke

Sabine Cloud is chief technical officer at Airbus and a member of the company’s executive committee.

Sabine is riding the company’s ambition to supply ambitious and thrilling technology to construct the destiny of aerospace. He leads a team of more than 11,000 Airbus engineers around the world, who design, develop, certify and validate the continuous climate of all commercial aircraft products and services.

Glenn Llewellyn, vice president of zero-emission aircraft at Airbus,

Glenn Llewellyn

Glenn Llewellyn is the General Manager of Electrification at Airbus.  He is responsible for all company-wide hybrid and electric-propulsion research focused on bringing the zero-emission flight to reality.


Can jet planes move in hydrogen?

Hydrogen-powered aircraft is a plane that uses hydrogen fuel as a power source.  Hydrogen can be burned in a jet engine or another type of internal combustion engine or used to power the propellant to power the fuel cell.

Who is the manufacturer of the turbine engine for the Airbus A380?

Rolls-Royce Trent 900

What engines does the A380 have?

The A380 is powered by four engines (Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or GE / Pratt & Whitney GP7200), each providing 70,000lb of thrust

How many engines does Airbus have?


The Airbus A380 can carry 850 passengers (but it usually carries around 525 passengers), and weighs more than 550 tons.  It has four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines or four-engine Alliance GP7000 engines.  Alliance engines are manufactured by General Electric and Pratt & Whitney

What is the maximum speed of the Airbus A380?

1185 km/h, (736.32 miles/h )

How many hours can the Airbus A380 fly?

For a standard passenger load (544 passengers – four seats), the Airbus a380 can fly at 15,two hundred km or 8,two hundred nm.  Assuming a cruise speed of 800 km / h (average), it could theoretically fly almost 18 hours non-stop

How is hydrogen used in aircraft?

Liquid hydrogen is used as gasoline for combustion with oxygen. In addition, hydrogen fuel cells create electric energy that complements the gas turbine, resulting in a more efficient hybrid-electric propulsion system.

Why is hydrogen the most promising zero-emission technology?

Hydrogen can be generated from a variety of domestic resources, and greenhouse gas emissions near zero

How does a hydrogen powered aircraft work?

Hydrogen planes basically have four main components – a storage system to safely store liquid hydrogen, fuel cells to convert hydrogen into electricity, a device to regulate the energy of cells, and then a motor to turn the propeller.

What do hydrogen vehicles emit?

They discharge only warm air and water vapour.

Sources CTV news / CNN / Airbus A380

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