Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 10. Airbus’ Hydrogen ZEROe concepts

September 25, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliners, we look at the three hydrogen-based concept aircraft Airbus presented this week.

They are called ZEROe and are concepts and not products, but their design tells us a lot about where Airbus is with its studies and how the hydrogen demonstrator aircraft might look like come 2026-2028.

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Airbus announces zero-emission airliner concepts.

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 21, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus held a webcast today, announcing three zero-emission airliner concepts called the ZEROe line (Figure 1). The two conventional designs, the turbofan airliner and the turboprop use hydrogen as the fuel for their gas turbine engines. The blended wing-body is a more futuristic concept where propulsion technology was not specified.

The idea is to use these concepts as work paths to explore the technologies around them and their aerodynamic characteristics. The concepts “are not products” underlined Airbus EVP development Jean-Brice Dumont. “It’s rather examples of designs around which the technologies can be explored and results compared. After concepts follow demonstrators and then products.”

Figure 1. Airbus ZEROe (e for emission) concepts. Source: Airbus.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 9. Hydrogen Gas Turbines

September 18, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we analyze the conversion of the present Turbofan and Turboprop airliner engines to hydrogen as fuel instead of carbon-based fuels.

We know it’s possible as the world’s first jet engine from 1937 ran on hydrogen, Figure 1. But what are the problems and how good are the hydrogen-fueled engines in efficiency and emissions?

Figure 1. The world’s first jet engine, Hans von Ohain’s He S-1. The engine’s aerodynamics is pictured below the cut-through. Note the skewed hydrogen injector at c. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 8. Fuel cell electric or Turbofan propulsion?

September 11, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we look at whether we use an LH2 burning Turbofan as propulsion or as the EU study proposed, a Parallel Hybrid feed by a fuel cell, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Parallel Hybrid 165 seat aircraft from the EU Hydrogen study. Source: EU.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 6. Tank placement.

August 28, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we look at the challenge of placing the hydrogen tanks efficiently.

Different from carbon fuels, liquid hydrogen needs specially shaped and bulky tanks. It can’t be stored in the wingbox as today’s Jet-A1.

Figure 1. The Tu-155 Hydrogen research aircraft with its aft fuselage tank. Source: Tupolev.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 4. Hydrogen safety.

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 14, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we are closing in on the design problems for a hydrogen-fueled airliner.

One of the aspects we must understand before discussion aircraft solutions are the safety aspects of hydrogen as a fuel in aircraft. Another is the requirements for the storage of liquid hydrogen, LH2.

Figure 1. The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst in May 1937. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 3. Application space.

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 7, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we now look at the emission targets one is chasing and then discuss for what type of airliner does a hydrogen propulsion system make sense.

The CO2 emission target as expressed by Air Transport Target Group (ATAG) is shown in Figure 1. The graph is from the EU report on Hydrogen Powered Aviation.

Figure 1. The development of CO2 from aviation and the ATAG 2050 target. Source: EU Hydrogen Powered Aviation report.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 2. Ecosystem.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 31, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliner use we begin by looking at the needed ecosystem that can produce and distribute Hydrogen.

When I was skeptical about hydrogen as a means to propel our airliners three years ago, the main problem was the lack of this ecosystem. That year, in 2017, 13 transport and energy companies formed the Hydrogen Council, to create this ecosystem. Today the council has 81 members, with 22 joining in the last year, Figure 1. The list reads as Who’s Who in the transport and energy sector.

Figure 1. Members of the Hydrogen Council. Source: Hydrogen Council.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 1. Background.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 24, 2020, ©. Leeham News: What a difference three months make!

When I wrapped the 20 piece Corner series about e in ePlane not standing for electric, on the first of May, I was virtually alone in saying hydrogen is the best long term alternative to our airliners’ jet fuel.

Today it’s all about hydrogen, especially if you ask industry and authorities in Europe. What happened?

Figure 1. The Russian Tu-155 hydrogen fuel research aircraft that flew in 1988. Source: Tupolev.

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France to invest 15 billion Euro in its aeronautical industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 10, 2020, ©. Leeham News: France presented a 15 billion Euro support plan for the French aeronautical industry yesterday, to help the industry overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan has three focus areas:

  • safeguard the employment of the 300,000 employed in the French aero industry
  • transform the supplier network to a more robust structure
  • and perhaps most interesting, set the direction for the industries’ next aircraft projects

The French Finance Minister announces the plan. Source: France 24.

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