While the airline industry has always looked to be innovative, one of the biggest concerns about air travel is its effect on the environment. But that could soon be solved. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus just unveiled three concepts for commercial aircraft that would have zero emissions. And they think it can be achieved by 2035.
Called ZEROe, the ideas propose how the planes could be powered by hydrogen instead of the traditional jet fuel. The three electric aircraft could then either be propelled by a turbofan, turboprop, or "blended-wing body." Each one would have different capabilities in terms of passenger transportation.
For example, the turbofan concept would be capable of traveling over 2,000 miles and carrying 120 to 200 people a time. The blended-wing-body option could also hold up to 200 passengers with a more malleable cabin layout given its wide fuselage. Lastly, the turboprop design would be for shorter trips as it could hold up to 100 passengers and travel for around 1,000 miles. All work on a version of hydrogen combustion.
"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," Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said in a statement. "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."
Obviously, some significant changes would need to take place in the airline industry's infrastructure. Airports would need to have the capabilities to transport hydrogen safely, which would need support from governments for research and funding.
"The transition to hydrogen, as the primary power source for these concept planes, will require decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem," said Faury. "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."