Following yesterday’s speech to investors, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told reporters “Aviation is in big trouble if we can’t decarbonize the industry at the right pace” and predicted a great future for hydrogen aircraft. However, the appearance of serial models with hydrogen in the near future is not expected.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions leading to global climate change. According to the organization, air travel is today “one of the most carbon-intensive actions an individual can take”.
Back in September 2020, Airbus announced the development of three “hybrid hydrogen” aircraft models and said they could enter service by 2035. In the same month, a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft capable of carrying passengers made its maiden flight.
The company already certifies an airliner capable of 50% of the so-called. “sustainable aviation fuel” (SAF), which is considered environmentally friendly. “We want the SAF industry to evolve, develop and grow to serve airlines and should be able to use 50% SAF. By the end of the decade we will bring the ratio to 100%.”said Fauri.
The Airbus boss emphasized that a lot of research and engineering work, as well as a lot of money, would first have to be spent on commercializing the technology and deploying it on a large scale.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has an opinion on the matter. “I think we should be honest again <..> So far there is no technology that can replace carbon jet aviation, he said in an interview with CNBC last October. — I don’t see the advent of hydrogen fuels, I don’t see the advent of sustainable fuels, I don’t see the advent of electric propulsion, definitely not before 2030.”.
Although the European Aviation Safety Agency says there is no internationally accepted definition of “sustainable aviation fuel,” the general idea is that it can reduce emissions from commercial aircraft. Until now, Airbus has defined it as a fuel made from renewable raw materials, the source of which can be, for example, plant residues, vegetable oil or animal fat.
Last week, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association told reporters that passengers would be willing to pay twice as much to use renewable fuel as they would for jet kerosene — at least they understand the need to do so in the long run.