Taking hydrogen turbines into the sky
Aeronautical companies around the world are actively seeking new ways to reduce CO2 emissions and have greener aviation. Airbus, one of the largest companies, has recently performed its first demonstration flight with a hydrogen-powered turbine.
Blue Condor is a modified glider that can fly up to 33,000 ft, powered fully by hydrogen whose mission is to demystify hydrogen contrails. Studying these contrails is important, since hydrogen combustion produces both water vapor, nitrous oxides (NOx), and greenhouse gases. With the German designed engine from Aero Design Works, the glider took off for the first time on November 8th, 2023, in Nevada (US) with a 30 min flight at 7,000 feet.
Blue Condor is part of the ZEROe project lead by Airbus UpNext with a collaboration from the German aerospace institute DLR, an Airbus branch focused on the development of new technologies that aims to identify trends and disrupting technologies for the aerospace industry and perform innovative research to speed up traditional development cycles. Other projects apart from Blue Condor are VERTEX, eXtra Performance Wing, Auto’Mate and others.
The Blue Condor project is developed on a modified Arcus-J glider, which fits two 700-bar tanks to fuel the combustion engine. While in flight, the modified aircraft will be followed by another aircraft retrofitted with sensors to analyze the emissions coming from the hydrogen combustion which later will be analyzed by engineers to characterize the contrails.
Airbus ZEROe projects are an innovative proposal to fight climate change and reduce the impact of emissions in aviation, Blue Condor is just the beginning of a series of developments to improve aviation. Stay tuned to know how this develops!