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[2023-05-12 ~ ]

The aircraft revolution is coming

Airbus with a Clear Goal in Developing Hydrogen Energy
Airbus Group, the most detailed aircraft manufacturer to plan hydrogen aircraft, aims to develop the world's first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035, using hydrogen fuel called ZEROe concept aircraft. Several demonstrable technologies have been officially launched to test various hydrogen fuel technologies on the ground and in the air.
The three ZEROe concept aircraft proposed are all modified gas turbine engines fed by liquid hydrogen, and fuel cells generate electricity to supplement the gas turbine to form a high-efficiency hybrid propulsion system. The first of these three concept aircraft is powered by two hybrid turbofan engines. The second is a conventional airliner with two hybrid turbines driving eight-bladed propellers. The third is a newly designed hybrid wing body. The turboprop aircraft of the second type can carry up to 100 passengers and has a range of 1,000 nautical miles. The other two can carry up to 200 passengers and have a range of 2,000 nautical miles. For long-haul airliners with 300 to 400 seats, Airbus envisions using renewable energy synthetic fuels instead of hydrogen.
To realize the above planning, Airbus has put into several concrete actions. In February 2022, Airbus signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a semi-joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, to conduct a series of ground and flight tests of hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines in preparation for zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The program uses the first-ever A380 to roll off the production line as a flight test bed equipped with liquid hydrogen storage tanks developed at Airbus plants in France and Germany. CFM's main work is to modify the combustion chamber, fuel system, and control system of GE Passport turbofan engines that are best suited for physical size, advanced turbomachinery, and fuel flow capabilities to facilitate the operation of hydrogen fuel. The purpose of using the A380 as a demonstrator is not to mass-produce this high-capacity, long-distance civil aircraft after hydrogenation, but based on the fact that there is enough space inside to accommodate the multiple configurations that need to be tested, without any restrictions.
Previous analyses have explained the importance of hydrogen storage tanks in hydrogen aircraft, determining what size and flight distance aircraft can run on hydrogen fuel. In 2021, Airbus established the Zero Emission Development Center (ZEDC) in Nantes, France, and Bremen, Germany, to design and manufacture hydrogen storage tanks. The former has extensive expertise in metal structures, while the latter draws on the extensive experience of hydrogen fuels from Ariane Group and Airbus, Defense, and Space, known for developing launch vehicle technology. In just over a year, the first cryogenic hydrogen storage tank produced by Airbus was built. This prototype will be improved through repeated simulations, with the ultimate goal of installing hydrogen storage tanks on the A380's demonstrator between 2026 and 2028.
The A380's demonstrator flew in 2022 lasting 4 hours and 14 minutes, testing the performance of various power devices at an altitude of 35,000 feet. The company expects to reach a mature level of technical readiness for hydrogen combustion propulsion systems by 2025.

Two Major Aircraft Engine Companies Developing Hydrogen-Powered Solutions
GE's investment in hydrogen technology, the world's foremost aircraft engine manufacturer, is not limited to its partnership with Airbus. At the end of 2022, Avio Aero, a subsidiary of the company, announced that it had received funding from Clean Aviation, a European Union's research and innovation program for transforming the aviation industry into a sustainable and climate-neutral research and innovation program, and launched the development of an innovative aircraft propulsion system coupled with a fuel cell-driven electric motor, called AMBER's hybrid program, including electric motors, generators, power converters, and the integration of power transmission systems with fuel cells. It is planned to be used on turboprop engines in the mid-2020s for testing. The company claims that the technology helps improve engine performance, reduce fuel use and emissions, and is compatible with advanced engine architectures such as SAF alternative fuels and open fans. During the Farnborough International Airshow, GE revealed that the engine had been tested in flight conditions at around 45,000 feet.
Another heavyweight aircraft engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, has embarked on a series of rigorous engine tests for hydrogen aircraft, with the goal of safely and effectively powering small and medium-sized aircraft from the mid-2030s.
The company is closely related to the development of hydrogenation technology and the UK government's Destination Zero technology strategy. The Strategy Committee, which is led by the Institute of Aerospace Technology (ATI), established under the auspices of the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), develops a challenging technology strategy for the aviation industry and develops a series of research and technology activities to achieve this strategy, leveraging the industry's strengths to create new future markets. to pave the way to net-zero carbon emissions for commercial aircraft by 2050 and support the competitiveness of the UK industry in the sustainable design, manufacture, assembly, and operation of aircraft of the future.
At least three projects are known to have been funded by Rolls-Royce through the ATI program, including technology for the development of liquid hydrogen gas turbine combustion chamber components and subsystem architecture hydrogen engine system technology; Developing the key technology of liquid hydrogen gas turbine and integrated power unit architecture, so that the hydrogen engine layout can achieve stable combustion; and the development of technologies for liquid hydrogen fuel systems for hydrogen turbines
In February 2023, the UK government and industry were looking to invest £113 million in hydrogen and all-electric flight technology and will develop cutting-edge new technologies that enable electric flying taxis and hydrogen-powered aircraft to take to the skies to achieve the zero-emission target of operating England's airports by 2040.
In November 2022, Rolls-Royce and Airline EasyJet jointly announced the successful completion of the testing of a hydrogen-fueled aircraft engine (Pearl 15) using green hydrogen from tidal and wind power generation in Scotland's Orkney Islands at the Boscombe Down military aircraft test site, part of the UK Ministry of Defence. This means that the aircraft can achieve zero emissions using hydrogen fuel, and preliminary verification is feasible.

1.     Rolls-Royce, 2022-11-28, Rolls-Royce and easyJet set new world first
2.     Financial Time, 2022-07-17, Sylvia Pfeifer, Rolls-Royce to run engine tests with hydrogen as emissions.
3.     BP, 2022-06, What is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?
4.     Cargo-Partner, How hydrogen-powered aircraft could change aviation, climate-neutral up above the clouds
5.     Physics Today, 2020-12-27, Hydrogen-powered aircraft may be getting a lift
6.     Flying Mag,2022-07-05, Thom Patterson, Boeing, and Airbus: A Stark Contrast on Hydrogen
7.     Airbus, 2022-11-18, The cold heart that powers our ZEROe aircraft
8.     AirInsightGroup, 2022-08-03, Richard Schuurman, American follows United as an investor in ZeroAvia
9.     BusinessWire, 2023-03-02, Universal Hydrogen Successfully Completes First Flight of Hydrogen Regional     
10.  BBC, 2022-03-21, Mark Piesing, The epic attempts to power planes with hydrogen




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