GE, Safran, and Airbus ink hydrogen aircraft demonstrator deal

Feb. 23, 2022
Airbus will provide the A380 flying testbed.

WASHINGTON - European aircraft giant Airbus has signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE Aviation in Cincinnati and Safran Aircraft Engines, which based in Courcouronnes, France, to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration program that will take flight around 2025. Airbus plans to enter a hydrogen-powered aircraft into service by 2035.

The trio aim test a hydrogen-fueled combustion engine by using an A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks. Airbus will oversee flight testing.

CFM will modify the combustor, fuel system, and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen. The engine, which is assembled in the US, was selected for this program because of its physical size, advanced turbo machinery, and fuel flow capability.

t will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the flying testbed to allow engine emissions, including contrails, to be monitored separately from those of the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will execute an extensive ground test program ahead of the A380 flight test.

In late 2021, Airbus announced that it was establishing Airbus UpNext subsidiary in Spain to leverage the expertise of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters, and Defense and Space division in zero emission hydrogen technology. 

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