Airbus and CFM to demonstrate hydrogen combustion on an A380

Airbus and CFM International are collaborating to develop a hydrogen combustion demonstration program that will start in the middle of this decade.

hydrogen combustion
(Image: Airbus)

According to Airbus, the program will ground and test a hydrogen-powered direct combustion engine in preparation for commissioning by 2035.

The demonstration will use an A380 flying test bed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared for: Airbus branches in France and Germany.

Airbus will also define the requirements for the hydrogen propulsion system, oversee the test flights and provide the A380 to test the hydrogen combustion engine in cruise phase.

“This is the most important step taken in Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts in September 2020,” Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer said in a statement. “By leveraging the expertise of US and European engine manufacturers to make progress in hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear signal of our industry’s commitment to achieving zero-emission flights.”

CFM InternationalCFM), an equivalent joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, will adapt the combustion chamber, fuel system and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen.

The engine was chosen for this program because of its physical size, advanced turbomachinery and fuel flow. It will be mounted along the aft fuselage of the flying test bed so that engine emissions, including contrails, can be monitored separately from the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will also conduct an extensive ground test program prior to the A380 flight test.

“The ability to burn hydrogen is one of the fundamental technologies that we are developing and maturing as part of the CFM RISE program,” said Gaël Méheust, President & CEO of CFM† “Bringing together the collective capabilities and experience of CFMour parent companies, and Airbuswe really have the dream team to successfully demonstrate a hydrogen propulsion system.”

CFM and Airbus are signatories to the Air Transport Action Group’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions for the aviation industry by 2050.

Abhishek Maheswari
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