Airbus to fly A380 with hydrogen by 2026 after new engine successfully tested

  • Airbus has completed testing its new ‘iron pad’ fuel cell system
  • It’s ready with a new hydrogen-powered engine
  • The first plane to go under testing using the new engine will be an Airbus A380

Published on May 14, 2024 at 6:22 PM (UTC+4)
by Siddharth Dudeja

Last updated on May 16, 2024 at 11:10 AM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

Aviation giant Airbus successfully completed testing of its ‘iron pad’ hydrogen fuel cell system and plans to test it on an Airbus A380 by 2026.

The A380 is a ZEROe test bed, which is a part of the ZEROe project.

But, what does ZEROe even mean?

The project aims to develop a sustainable fuel system under the company’s zero-emission initiative.

READ MORE: Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: which is the best commercial plane in the world?

As for the iron pad hydrogen fuel cell system, Airbus began initial testing last year.

Currently, the fuel cell system can achieve a total power output of 1.2 megawatts.

Since it’s in its early stages, the engine was tested under life-like conditions in a facility instead of being put on a plane.

That doesn’t mean it didn’t have all the required parts, though.

It included electric motors and a gearbox but compensated a jet propellor with artificial electromagnetic load.

And now, after, hundreds of hours of testing, the ZEROe project team is confident that the new hydrogen-powered engine is ready for real-world scenarios.

This is why in-flight testing featuring an Airbus A380 will likely take place next year.

Hydrogen-powered sustainable planes are becoming more common than ever before.

Aviation companies across the world, and even newer ones like Destinus are testing hydrogen engines for supersonic flights.

The aviation giant will now develop a second version of the new hydrogen engine to install it on an A380 testbed jet.

Interestingly, the aircraft being used as a testbed is the very first A380 that Airbus manufactured almost two decades ago.

It even has the ‘MSN001’ production serial number, making it truly special.

Moreover, the A380 is an ideal candidate for testing a futuristic fuel system, only because it’s the most deserving.

The Airbus A380 began its life cycle in 2005 and became one of the world’s most popular jumbo jets in no time.

It’s not the world’s largest passenger plane and the most popular aircraft without reason.

If everything goes according to plan, the company plans to fly several hydrogen-powered aircraft by the mid-2030s.


Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth is a tech nerd with a secret love of all things cars. He has been writing for a few years now, and on his free time you would find him gaming when he's not procrastinating.