Airbus has announced a series of collaborations, investigating the potential of hydrogen hubs, at a number of major airports across the US and Canada. These include a feasibility study at the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, ahead of the manufacturer’s ambitious plans to bring hydrogen-powered aircraft to market as soon as 2035.

 This investigation will “help define the infrastructure, operational viability, and safety and security requirements needed to implement hydrogen as a potential fuel source for future aircraft operations at ATL,” explained Airbus, which intends specific lessons learned to have wider relevance to additional locations. Delta Air Lines and hydrogen ecosystem technology provider Plug Power will also be involved in the partnership.

A similar study (in conjunction with Houston Airports and the Center for Houston’s Future) will also be conducted at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, scheduled for completion at the end of March 2025, and helping to “develop a steeped approach to decarbonising all airport-associated infrastructure using hydrogen”.

Airbus is also to collaborate with hydrogen-electric powertrain pioneer ZeroAvia to investigate the feasibility of hydrogen infrastructure at three major airports in Canada, the first time a study such as this has been conducted.

Canada’s three business airports (Montréal International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport) will work with Airbus and ZeroAvia to “provide better understanding of hydrogen aircraft concepts and operations, supply, infrastructure and refuelling needs at airport, with the goal of developing the hydrogen ecosystem across the country,” explains Airbus.

Karine Guenan, vice president of Airbus’ ZEROe Ecosystem programme described Canada as “one of the most promising regions for hydrogen hubs due to its natural resources,” including hydrogen production potential from energy sources such as hydroelectric power. Yves Beauchamp, President and CEO of ADM Aéroports de Montréal, added it was essential to “adequately plan” the infrastructure required to offer hydrogen at the airport as early as 2035.

ZeroAvia’s 10-20 seat aircraft hydrogen-electric powertrain is expected to enter the market within a couple of years, with a second engine for a 40-80 seat aircraft “to follow soon after”. ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Mifktakhov said that as his company’s flight testing “demonstrates that hydrogen-powered commercial aviation is a prospect ahead of 2030, so we need to start working hard to prepare for the hydrogen infrastructure needed to support the aviation industry”.Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter

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