CFM and Airbus to pioneer hydrogen combustion technology

February 25, 2022 | 11:22
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CFM International, equally owned by GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, and Airbus have signed an agreement to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration programme that will take flight around the middle of this decade.
CFM and Airbus to pioneer hydrogen combustion technology
A pioneering new technology for the aviation industry

The programme’s objective is to test a combustion engine fuelled by hydrogen in preparation for a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

CFM will modify the combustor, fuel system, and control systems of a GE PassportTM turbofan to run on hydrogen. The engine was selected because of its physical size, advanced turbo technology, and fuel-flow capability.

It will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the flying testbed to allow the new engine’s emissions to be monitored separately from those powering the aircraft. CFM will execute an extensive ground test programme ahead of the flight test.

The demonstration will use an A380 equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany. The company will define the hydrogen propulsion system requirements, oversee flight testing, and provide the A380 platform.

“Hydrogen combustion capability is one of the technologies we are developing as part of the CFM RISE Program,” said Gaël Méheust, president and CEO of CFM.

“Bringing together the collective capabilities and experience of CFM, our parent companies, and Airbus, we have the dream team in place to successfully demonstrate a hydrogen propulsion system."

Sabine Klauke, chief technical officer of Airbus stated, “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 achieving zero-emission flight.”

CFM shares Airbus’ ambition to fulfil the promise they made by signing up to the Air Transport Action Group in October. Their goal is to achieve net zero in the aviation industry by 2050 by developing and testing the technology necessary to make a zero-emission aircraft a reality.

CFM, along with GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, have a long-standing relationship with Airbus, and the partners have an established track record of delivering high-performance products that meet the needs of airline customers.

By CFM International

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