Airbus confirms collaboration with CFM to use A380 as ZEROe hydrogen demonstrator

In what can be termed as a major announcement from the aerospace behemoth, Airbus, in collaboration with CFM Partners- GE Aviation and Safran, has presented a ZEROe demonstrator aircraft-and guess who’s back?

Representative | Source

The company has chosen the mighty “Jumbo Jet”- a heavily modified A380 prototype to test its new hydrogen-powered engines for its ZEROe program. The demonstrator will be used as a testbed to experiment with new hydrogen technologies on the ground and in air.

The aircraft type being a little old at this point of time, considering it entered services almost a decade back, together with the fact that its design characteristics make it sort of unpopular during these pandemic times, makes it a suitable option for such demonstration experiments.

A380 Hydrogen Flight Demonstrator- Tech and specs

The A380 hydrogen flight demonstrator-MSN 1, was the first Superjumbo to be ever built. This model is suited to be a testbed for the testing of various technologies and hence would be a perfect aircraft for the testing of equipment and functioning of propulsion systems.

Airbus

Apparently, the company has plans of mounting a special hydrogen engine along the rear fuselage on the upper deck of the A380.  The GE Passport Biz-jet engine used in the Bombardier Global 7500 long-range business jet appears to be the choice of engine for the company. The engine is light enough to be mounted and also features modern core engine architecture which is critical for H2-combustion trials and the NOX gas residues that form along with this combustion.

Hydrogen test installation components | Airbus and Leeham Co

The A380 MSN1 is an excellent flight laboratory platform for new hydrogen technologies. It’s a safe and reliable platform that is highly versatile to test a wide range of zero emission technologies.

Mathias Andriamisaina, Airbus ZEROe demonstrator leader

The placement of the engines high up and away from the A380s main engines is equally important. These hydrogen engines would be used to measure how the water vapour from the burn of H2 with the air’s Oxygen forms into water vapour contrails and thus separated from the A380 main engine exhausts by a trailing measurement aircraft.

Numerous tests will be performed around the behaviour of the Cryogenic (-253°C) tanks and subsequent data will be collected.

Acquired data will be evaluated in real-time, both by engineers onboard and flight crew on the ground via various data link feeds.

What the future holds for the Airbus 380 Hydrogen flight demonstrator?

Youtube

This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts back in September 2020.By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making zero-emission flight a reality

 said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer
Airbus ZEROe Demonstrator program | Representative | Threatpost

This eco-demonstration marks Airbus’s maiden foray into its ZEROe demonstration program and although there are many hurdles to cross, this is definitely a step ahead towards achieving zero-emission aviation in the not-so-distant future.

SOURCE(s)

COVER: AIRBUS

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