Airbus takes hydrogen aircraft to a new level with supraconductivity

Airbus hydrogen aircraft supraconductivitty
Airbus takes hydrogen aircraft to a new level with supraconductivity

Airbus Upnext announces a new demonstrator. The aim is to accelerate the maturity of the supraconducting technologies to be used in the electric propulsion systems of a future hydrogen aircraft.

Known as Cryoprop, the new demonstrator will incorporate a two-megawatt supraconducting* electric propulsion system cooled by liquid hydrogen via a helium recirculation loop. It will be developed by Airbus teams in Toulouse, France, and Ottobrunn, Germany.

“Our previous demonstrators have shown that superconducting technologies would be a key enabler for the high-power electrification of future hydrogen-powered aircraft. I truly believe that the new demonstrator will lead to performance improvements of the propulsion system, translating into significant weight and fuel saving potential” stated Michael Augello, Airbus UpNext CEO.s

Confirming potential and developing an ecosystem

Airbus has been developing supraconducting technologies for high-power electric propulsion for several years. These culminated in the powering up of a 500 kW integrated cryogenic propulsion system last year.

Cryoprop will confirm the potential of these supraconducting technologies for future aeronautic applications, by assessing all aspects relating to safety, industrialisation, maintenance and operations. This demonstrator will also give Airbus the opportunity to develop high-level in-house expertise. The idea is also to foster a new ecosystem to accelerate the introduction of new products in fields such as supraconducting cables, engines, cryogenic power electronics and cooling systems.

*A supraconducting material conducts an electric current perfectly, with no resistance and therefore no loss of energy.

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

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Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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