Hydrogen Aviation Will Shortly Be Taking Off

Hydrogen Aviation Will Shortly Be Taking Off

Mark Bentall, Airbus COO to the Chief Technology Officer has announced that “Hydrogen offers us the biggest potential to reach the zero emissions target, and our net zero ambitions, and there are a number of key reasons why”.

With hydrogen rapidly infiltrating numerous sectors of the global economy, and companies like Zero Avia already making great strides with zero-emission hydrogen-powered light aircraft, it’s no surprise to learn that hydrogen, a storable, multi-use fuel that emits no harmful CO2, is of serious interest to Airbus.

“One is that hydrogen offers the possibility to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas effect. If we’re talking about green hydrogen – certainly our focus on all of our capability and everything is based on green hydrogen, anything that goes towards pushing forward the production of green hydrogen is where we’re going to be – that kind of solution offers no CO2, low nitrous oxide and soot emissions.”

Airbus has published a report ‘Hydrogen:An energy carrier to fuel the climate-neutral aviation of tomorrow’  in which it recognised that by swapping hydrogen power for traditional carbon burning fuel, harmful soot is replaced by clean water vapour, reducing or removing the airplane contrails proliferating, and polluting, our skies.

By swapping airplane's traditional carbon burning fuels for hydrogen power the end of polluting contrails in our skies could be in sight.

By swapping airplanes’ traditional carbon burning fuels for hydrogen power, the end of polluting contrails in our skies could be in sight.

“Second, green hydrogen is expected to ramp up to a large scale over the next decade or so, and that’s got to make hydrogen increasingly more cost-competitive compared with existing options, such as jet fuel.” Bentall continued.

“And thirdly, another major advantage of hydrogen is that it can complement existing refuelling operations at most of our major airports – it’s not just about the aircraft, we also have to focus on the infrastructure.”

Airbus also acknowledged the diverse range of applications for hydrogen that are starting to populate so many different areas of the global economy.

“We are seeing a convergence towards hydrogen.  There are many other industries that see hydrogen as an intermittent way to store energy, whether it be – and I’m thinking about green hydrogen here – solar or wind. We see it with our rockets and launch vehicles, but we also see it with automotive and the car industry, and we certainly see it with the trucking industry. With the shipping industry, there’s also a convergence towards hydrogen there as well.

The development of these technologies will certainly make the global population, whether it be from the US, EU or China, less dependent on fossil fuels and are more competitive globally. So yes, I think there’s a sort of a sequence of events. But when it comes down to hydrogen, we do see cross-industrial demand for this and cross-industrial alignment across the different sectors.”

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