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Airbus Unveils Zero-emission Hydrogen-fueled Planes

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Airbus has unveiled its plans to build the world's first zero-emission commercial aircraft, which could enter service by 2035.

The European aviation giant Monday unveiled three concepts each represent a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations.

"This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen," Airbus (EADSF) CEO Guillaume Faury said in a statement.

All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source, an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel and is likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets.

The three ZEROe concepts unveiled by the planemaker include a turbofan, a turboprop and blended-wing body design.

The turbofan design would carry 120 to 200 passengers with a range of over 2,000 nautical miles. It will be powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed via tanks located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.

The turboprop design would carry up to 100 passengers and would be capable of traveling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it suitable for short-haul trips.

A blended-wing body design would carry up to 200 passengers. The wings would merge with the main body of the aircraft with a range similar to that of the turbofan concept.

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