This was said by Christophe Arnold, the head of infrastructure for new energy at Airbus Zeroe, who was in Milan to attend the symposium on “Hydrogen and aviation” organized by Sea.
The promotion of hydrogen use is the primary and qualifying alternative for sustainable growth, and the road is likewise traced to the aviation industry, according to Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Frattin, who has no qualms about it.
According to the manager, Airbus, which has long banked on hydrogen, has made “excellent progress,” and test flights with an A380 fitted with liquid hydrogen tanks might begin as early as 2026. Arnold stated, “We have two airplanes that we’re working on. The first is a 100-seat aircraft, and the second is a 200-seat aircraft.” The choice of which of the two will go into operation in 2035 is still up in the air at the present. The “larger footprint” of the hydrogen tanks is the reason for the fewer passengers as compared to a modern aircraft like the Airbus A 380, which can carry between 520 and 850 passengers depending on the configuration.
For civil aviation, hydrogen is a necessary step, and “there are no alternatives,” according to Sea CEO Armando Brunini. The analyses, he continued, “suggest that we must make a technical leap,” one that specifically “provides electric aircraft for smaller solutions and hydrogen for bigger ones,” in order to address the emission component for aircraft in flight. “Airbus is wagering on this technology, and it is right to reward their bravery,” he continues. The problem of “a marathon” with multiple “intermediate objectives” is one that Sea and Brunini must also face. The first “small hydrogen production plant at an airport” will be built in 2024, among other things. We won’t need airplanes right away, he said, but rather ground vehicles, and preparing our airports for hydrogen will be a first step in that direction.