Airbus and CFM International Pioneer Hydrogen Flying

Airbus and CFM Int. Pioneering Hydrogen Flying
Airbus and CFM Int. Pioneering Hydrogen Flying

Airbus has signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a joint venture of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, to collaborate on a test aircraft that will be ready to fly on hydrogen within the next decade.

The aim of the program is to complete ground and flight tests of a hydrogen-powered direct combustion engine in preparation for the entry into service of a zero-emissions (ZEROe) aircraft by 2035. An A380 aircraft equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany will be used during the flight. Airbus will also define hydrogen propulsion system needs, oversee flight tests and provide the A380 platform for in-flight hydrogen combustion engine testing.

CFM International (CFM) will replace a GE Passport turbofan's burner, fuel system, and control system to run on hydrogen. Assembled in the USA, the engine was chosen for this program due to its physical size, advanced turbo mechanism and fuel flow capability. It will be mounted on the aft fuselage of the test aircraft to enable separate monitoring of engine emissions, including the vapor trail, from the emissions of the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will undergo an extensive ground testing program prior to the A380 flight test.

Sabine Klauke, Airbus Technical Director, said: “This is the most significant step forward at Airbus towards ushering in the era of hydrogen flight since our ZEROe concepts were announced in September 2020. “This international partnership, drawing on the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to advance hydrogen combustion technology, is a clear message of our industry's commitment to making zero-emission flight a reality.”

Gaël Méheust, CFM President and CEO, said, “Hydrogen burning capability is one of the key technologies we have developed and matured as part of the CFM RISE Programme. “We have a great team that will bring together the collective capabilities and experience of CFM, our parent companies and Airbus to successfully test the hydrogen propulsion system.”

With the Air Transport Action Group target signed in October 2021, CFM shares Airbus' commitment to bring the aviation industry to net-zero carbon emissions by 2020.

Airbus has a longstanding relationship with CFM and its parent companies, GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, and this partnership has an excellent track record of delivering high-performance products that meet the needs of airline customers.

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