Airbus has picked a Japanese-owned French manufacturer to develop electric motors for a planned prototype hydrogen-powered engine.
The airframer is intending to bring a commercial zero-emission aircraft to market by around 2035, and the motor will be part of a proposed hydrogen fuel-cell energy system.
Airbus has selected Nidec Leroy-Somer – which is part of the Japanese-based Nidec Group – to develop the motor.
The design, engineering and prototype work will be carried out at the company’s Angeouleme facility, with the aim of producing a prototype to meet high safety, reliability, power and efficiency requirements while remaining at the lowest weight.
Initial ground-based testing will validate the technology before the project moves to in-flight testing.
Nidec Leroy-Somer commercial and industrial motors division president Jean-Michal Condamin says the project is “ambitious”.
“This important milestone for more sustainable mobility, presents several challenges that we are committed to overcome, to serve the global community,” he adds.
Chief technology officer Eric Coupart says the company will offer “world-class” research and development capabilities to provide Airbus with “sustainable and powerful smart technologies”.
Airbus has shown off various concepts for its ‘ZEROe’ future hydrogen-powered aircraft programme.