As if Airbus' zero emissions aircraft concepts weren't cool enough, the European aerospace giant just announced the hydrogen ‘plane pods’ concept - technology that will power a propeller-driven plane “unlike anything seen on today’s runways”.
Back in September, Airbus released three concepts for a hydrogen-fuelled commercial airliner it aimed to develop by 2035, potentially unlocking the prospect of zero-emission air travel. It will decide by 2025 which design to focus on.
Today, Airbus engineers revealed more details about the propeller concept - specifically that it could be powered by three "pods" on each wing.
Get a glimpse of this unique design below:
These pods are self-contained units that house the fuel cells, propeller blades and electronics needed to lift the aircraft. Encased in the fuel cells would be liquid hydrogen, a fuel source that produces only water vapor as a byproduct of its use.
Airbus will designs the pods so they can be assembled, installed, removed and disassembled in record time, potentially providing an efficient solution to refueling needs.
“This ‘pod’ configuration is a great starting point to nurture further inquiry into how we can scale up hydrogen technology to commercial aircraft,” said Glenn Llewellyn, VP of zero-emission aircraft at Airbus.
He added in a statement that “this is one option, but many more will be conceptualized before we make a final selection, a decision that is expected by 2025.”
Hydrogen-flight is almost an entirely new technology for aviation, so the development costs are anticipated to be high. We also hope that the investment reaps higher rewards.
According to Euractiv, "A patent application for the pod concept will be filed this month and Airbus said in a statement that the idea has been in the works since 2018, suggesting that its attempts to build hydrogen aircraft is more than a PR exercise."