Reaffirming its commitment to low and zero emission commercial aircraft, Airbus is exploring the impact of superconducting materials and liquid hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures on an aircraft’s propulsion system.
The effort is part of the company’s newly launched Advanced Superconducting and Cryogenic Experimental Powertrain Demonstrator (ASCEND), through which Airbus hopes to lower electric resistance by introducing superconducting materials.
Coupled with liquid hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures, electrical systems can be cooled in order to significantly increase the performance of the overall electric propulsion system, all of which will be explored through the ASCEND platform.
To achieve a solid conclusion, ASCEND will assess electric architectures from several hundred kilowatts to multi-megawatt applications with and without liquid hydrogen on board.
“Airbus will design and build the demonstrator over the next three years at its E-Aircraft System House. Solutions that could be adapted to turboprop, turbofan and hybrid propeller engines will be tested and evaluated by the end of 2023. It will support Airbus’ decision making process for the type of propulsion system architecture required for future aircraft,” the company said in a statement.”
“ASCEND is also expected to support performance improvements on existing and future propulsion systems across the entire Airbus portfolio, including helicopters, eVTOLs, as well as regional and single-aisle aircraft.”
The demonstrator is hosted within Airbus UpNext, an Airbus subsidiary created to give future technologies a development fast-track by building demonstrators at speed and scale, evaluating, maturing and validating new products and services that encompass radical technological breakthroughs.
Is Airbus’ commitment to low and zero emission flights of interest to you?
In September last year (2020), the multinational aerospace corporation unveiled three hydrogen-powered aircraft concept – read more about these here.