October 6, 2020
For a long time, there has been a lot of chit-chat about hydrogen fuel cells becoming the energy source of the future. And for a long time, that’s all it was: a lot of chit-chat. But that may be about the change. Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have already taken the first steps toward mass-producing hydrogen fuel-cell cars, and California recently approved funding for 123 hydrogen stations for passenger cars.
The next step? Airplanes.
“Eighteen months ago,” says Iain Gray, director of aerospace at the UK’s Cranfield University, “when people talked about hydrogen in the aerospace industry, people thought you were slightly crazy.”
Airbus has recently released plans to develop three different commercial aircraft models which will run on hydrogen fuel. Nor is this technology something that is many decades down the road: Airbus expects hydrogen-powered planes to be commercially viable within the next decade.