Airbus and CFM International are to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration programme.
Announced on 22 February, the purpose of the programme is to ground and flight test a direct combustion engine fuelled by hydrogen, preparing for an entry-into-service for a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The demonstration will use an A380 flying testbed, equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany.
Airbus will define the hydrogen propulsion system requirements, oversee flight testing and provide the A380 platform to test the hydrogen combustion engine in cruise phase. CFM International, meanwhile, will modify the combustor, fuel system and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen.
The engine, assembled in the US, was selected for the programme due to its physical size, advanced turbo machinery and fuel flow capability. It will be mounted along the real fuselage of the flying testbed, allowing engine emissions, including contrails, to be monitored separately from those of the engines that power the aircraft. CFM will carry out an extensive ground test before the A380 flight test.