Airbus and ArianeGroup have announced they will be collaborating to build the first liquid hydrogen refuelling facility for ZEROe aircraft at Blagnac Airport, which is expected to be operational by 2025.
Airbus is due to start ground and flight tests on its ZEROe demonstrator in the middle of this decade, with the A380 MSN1 flight test aircraft currently being modified to carry liquid hydrogen tanks and associated distribution systems. ArianeGroup will design, produce and support operations of the liquid hydrogen fuelling system.
André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, said: “Airbus’ choice of us as partner is a vote of confidence, recognizing half a century of expertise in liquid hydrogen for Ariane rocket propulsion. “We are proud to be working with Airbus on these first steps towards liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft. Aviation and space are two pioneering industries. Uniting our expertise is our responsibility to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. ArianeGroup, with its unique skills and know-how in the storage, testing, and use of liquid hydrogen, enables new industrial sectors in Europe to accelerate their energy transition.”
“Many of the technologies required for a zero-emission aircraft are already available in other industries, and liquid hydrogen handling is no exception,” commented Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer, Airbus. “Preparing for the entry into service of a zero-emission aircraft in 2035 means that we need to mature all of the required technologies in parallel. By partnering with ArianeGroup, we will leverage well known hydrogen expertise and other relevant space technologies in the pursuit of this goal.”