Hydrogen Alliance Launched by the UK Aviation and Renewable Energy Leaders
easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport are some of the leading companies in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors that collectively launched the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance to accelerate zero carbon aviation delivery.
Although sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), synthetic fuels or batteries are also effective options for decarbonising the aviation sector, HIA believes that direct use of hydrogen should be considered as a viable option.
Airbus is developing new hydrogen-powered aircraft to enter commercial service by 2035 and after conducting successful ground tests in 2022, Rolls-Royce has proven that hydrogen could power a jet engine. Furthermore, many smaller operators like ZeroAvia and Universal Hydrogen made remarkable progress on hydrogen-powered aircraft and even carried out flight tests. These prove the great potential of Hydrogen as an alternative fuel in short-haul aviation.
HIA will work constructively with the Government, local authorities, and the aviation and hydrogen sectors to propose a clear and deliverable pathway that can establish the UK as a global leader in this critical application of hydrogen technology. This will include plans to scale up the infrastructure and the policy, regulatory and safety frameworks required to transform into a large-scale commercial aviation.
For this alliance to function properly and meet its decarbonisation targets, the Government needs to focus on three key areas, supporting the delivery of the infrastructure; ensuring the aviation regulatory regime is hydrogen-ready; and transforming the funding for hydrogen aviation R&D support into a 10-year programme.
Johan Lundgren, the CEO of easyJet and first Chair of HIA, said, “There is no doubt that the UK has the potential to become a world leader in hydrogen aviation, which could bring with it a £34bn per annum boost to the country’s economy by 2050, but in order to capture this opportunity, rapid change is needed and the time to act is now.
“We must work together to deliver the radical solutions required for a hard-to-abate industry like aviation so we can protect and maximise 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.”
Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce, said, “Collaboration is key when it comes to achieving our net zero ambitions as an industry, which is why we are proud to be part of the Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance. Our contribution to HIA is the capability and experience we have in pioneering new technologies and solutions – we have already tested a modern aero engine on green hydrogen and we strongly believe it is one of the solutions that will help decarbonise aviation in the mid to long-term.”
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, the Senior Vice President and Head of Power-to-X for Ørsted, said, “Ørsted is fully committed to renewable hydrogen as a key solution to defossilise hard-to-electrify sectors such as aviation. Our long experience in developing and deploying new technologies has taught us that collaboration across policymakers, developers, customers and supply chains – and considerable investment from each of them – is critical to bringing down costs and driving a new sector to scale. Alliances such as the HIA are essential to bring together different actors across the value chain to support and accelerate the role hydrogen can, and must, play in the UK.