Airbus Is Looking Into Hybrid-Electric Aircraft Technology

The European planemaker said on Friday that, Airbus is working on hybrid-electric propulsion among the options for reducing jetliner emissions. It revealed the initiative in a document projecting more than a million tonnes of equivalent CO2 emissions over the life of each current-generation jet, as it became the first planemaker to report so-called “Scope 3” emissions.

So far, Airbus has primly publicized hydrogen as the preferred energy source for future airplanes, pledging to introduce the first hydrogen-powered commercial plane in 2035.  “The company’s work in electric flight has laid the groundwork for our future concept of zero-emission commercial aircraft,” Airbus said, adding it is “now exploring a variety of hybrid-electric and hydrogen technology options”. Although experts say Technology could power relatively small planes to start with and galvanize green investments, it poses challenges because of its volume and the need for a new infrastructure. Boeing has diminished the idea.

Engine makers are actively exploring open-rotor engines with visible blades using a mixture of traditional turbines and electric propulsion for future replacements to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

An Airbus spokesman said: “Only a combination of technologies, including hydrogen, will help us aim for zero emission.”