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Airbus attempting to create zero-carbon passenger plane by 2035

Airbus attempting to create zero-carbon passenger plane by 2035
© Courtesy of Airbus

Airbus unveiled three designs for zero-emission aircraft on Monday, including one potential design that ditches the traditional fuselage design for a modified "blended-wing" shape.

A press release touted the new designs and stressed the viability of hydrogen as a fuel source for aircraft going forward as the industry seeks to reduce its impact on the climate.

“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in the press release.

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“I strongly believe that the use of hydrogen — both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft — has the potential to significantly reduce aviation's climate impact," Faury added.

The United Nations predicts that emissions from commercial aircraft could triple by 2050. Such emissions now account for about 2.5 percent of global carbon emissions.

The designs released Monday feature two different engine designs, a modified gas-turbine engine and a turboprop engine. Two of the versions are designed to accommodate hydrogen storage tanks which would be necessary for longer journeys.

Faury added in his statement that the designs would require airports around the world to build infrastructure to help the industry expand to hydrogen-powered aircraft.

“These concepts will help us explore and mature the design and layout of the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft, which we aim to put into service by 2035,” said Faury. “The transition to hydrogen, as the primary power source for these concept planes, will require decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem."

"Together with the support from government and industrial partners we can rise up to this challenge to scale-up renewable energy and hydrogen for the sustainable future of the aviation industry," he said.