A new report from the New Zealand Hydrogen Aviation Consortium has revealed that by working together, the consortium could remove up to 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2050 by using hydrogen-fuelled aircraft on domestic routes.

The consortium, which is made up of six international businesses Airbus, Air New Zealand, Christchurch Airport, Fortescue, Hiringa Energy and Fabrum, has spent the last six months examining the hydrogen supply chain, evaluating the local aviation market’s projected hydrogen requirements, and scoping what it would take to establish a successful hydrogen ecosystem for aviation in New Zealand.

It has also developed recommendations for the regulations and incentives needed to support the transition to a green hydrogen aviation system.

Its ZEROe Ecosystem vice president, Karine Guenan believes that New Zealand is uniquely positioned to lead the testing and deployment of low carbon aircraft. “The country’s large potential renewable electricity and water resources are key advantages while the size of aircraft used here and the length of routes flown match the capabilities of hydrogen-powered aircraft,” she explained. “This report lays out the ecosystem required to make that happen. It is a first step and Airbus is committed to leveraging our expertise to work with government, iwi, industries and other stakeholders to bring it to life.”

The Launching green hydrogen powered aviation in Aotearoa New Zealand report shows that to enable green hydrogen aviation to take-off, New Zealand will need to:

  • Scale affordable new generation renewable energy in New Zealand to support the production of green hydrogen.
  • Develop the transmission and distribution capacity to move that renewable electricity to where it is needed
  • Develop policies and regulations to create and support a green hydrogen ecosystem.
  • Develop a range of new systems and processes to ensure the safe production, distribution and use of green hydrogen.
  • Become more cost-effective to produce and supply green hydrogen to ensure its commercial viability.

The Consortium’s modelling shows New Zealand could use up to 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year for hydrogen-fuelled aircraft by 2050 with most of it required to fuel planes at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.

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