Insufficient investments in net zero fuels delaying decarbonizing airline industry: Airbus

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Aerospace giant´s chief says Airbus plans to launch hydrogen powered aircraft by 2035 could be delayed due to slow investment in green fuel production facilities   

The much-awaited shift of the aviation industry towards using net zero fuels for commercial flights could be delayed warned Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus.  

According to a report in the Guardian on Wednesday, November 30, Faury stated his concerns regarding the present rate of investments in hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel. In a statement made during a briefing, according to the report, Faury said, “Availability or lack of availability of clean hydrogen at the right quantity in the right place at the right price in the second half of the decade is a big concern for me”. He added, “The infrastructure for producing and distributing green hydrogen is still in the early stages of development, but the clock is ticking for it to be in place to fuel commercial aviation by the 2030s.” 

The report said, amongst all the industries, aviation has been facing one the biggest challenges to decarbonize. One of the main reasons behind this is the lack of advanced battery technology powerful enough for long distance travel in planes.  

Airbus also made an announcement on Wednesday that the company is presently working on an aircraft engine that is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This technology, the report said, produces electricity and only emits water. The company already has plans to start test flight of this environmentally friendly aircraft by 2026.  

Airbus also said the propeller engine could power an aircraft big enough to carry 100 passengers over a distance of 1,000 nautical miles. The company also adds, the likelihood of long-haul flights with this engine is quite low, due to the storage required for the hydrogen, the report said.