UK industrial consortium to press for hydrogen use in aviation


A consortium of aviation and renewable energy companies in the UK has been set up to lobby for the use of hydrogen as an aviation fuel.

The Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance includes airline easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Danish renewable energy company Ørsted, and Bristol Airport,

According to HIA, its aim is to help set out how hydrogen infrastructure, government policy and regulations can be scaled up so that large-scale commercial aviation can use hydrogen as a fuel.

The alliance believes that the UK Government needs to be focused on supporting the development of hydrogen infrastructure, ensuring the aviation regulatory regime is hydrogen-ready and funding for hydrogen aviation R&D support into a 10 year program to achieve this goal.

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and first chair of HIA, said, “We must work together to deliver the radical solutions required for a hard-to-abate industry like aviation so we can protect and maximize the benefits that it brings to the UK economy and society and that we know British consumers want to be preserved.

“HIA looks forward to working with the UK Government to ensure the right funding, regulatory and policy changes are implemented to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation.”

The Alliance believes hydrogen is a promising option for short-haul aviation and that “more attention” needs to be provided to its use.

While there are various options for decarbonising the aviation sector, including sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), synthetic fuels or batteries, HIA believes that more attention should be paid to the potential of the direct use of hydrogen.

Airbus is developing hydrogen powered aircraft with the aim of entering commercial service from 2035 and Rolls-Royce has already proven that hydrogen could power a jet engine following successful ground tests in 2022. Several smaller companies such as ZeroAvia and Universal Hydrogen have carried out flight tests that used hydrogen as a fuel.

Sabine Klauke, chief technology officer at Airbus said, “As Airbus continues to mature the aircraft technologies needed to deliver hydrogen-powered flight, a united industry voice is needed to secure a robust ecosystem of renewably-sourced hydrogen. Joining our peers from across the UK aviation landscape in a targeted approach to policy and investment action brings us closer to a decarbonised future of flying.”

Olivia Breese, senior vice president and head of power-to-x for Ørsted said,: “Ørsted is fully committed to renewable hydrogen as a key solution to defossilize hard-to-electrify sectors such as aviation.

“Our long experience in developing and deploying new technologies has taught us that collaboration across policy-makers, developers, customers and supply chain – and considerable investment from each of them – is critical to bring down costs and drive a new sector to scale. Alliances such as the HIA are essential to bring together different actors.”

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